Following the passing of Johnny Kitagawa, the founder of a prominent J-pop agency, there have been allegations of abuse against the agency’s new leader, Higashiyama.

Noriyuki Higashiyama, the new leader of the J-pop agency Johnny and Associates, is facing allegations of sexually assaulting young boys, adding to the sexual abuse scandal surrounding the late founder, Johnny Kitagawa.

Higashiyama stated that he couldn’t recall the alleged activities, suggesting they may or may not have occurred. These allegations emerged during a press conference announcing Julie Fujishima’s resignation as CEO and Higashiyama’s appointment as the new leader of the company.

Journalists questioned him about allegations from a book claiming that he massaged the crotches of boys, exposed his genitals, and made inappropriate comments. Higashiyama responded, “I don’t remember clearly. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t. I have trouble remembering.”

He also acknowledged the possibility that he had been tough on younger artists and admitted to the potential of behaving differently in his youth compared to today.

Despite opposition from many online who questioned his hiring due to his long association with Johnny and Associates, Higashiyama emphasized his commitment to winning back trust and protecting talent within the company.

Kauan Okamoto, one of Johnny’s victims who came forward, expressed mixed feelings, saying he “respected” Higashiyama for taking on the challenging role but also discussed the impact on his family.

Johnny Kitagawa, a powerful figure in Japan’s entertainment industry, was revealed to have abused hundreds of boys and young men over several decades, including during his time running the boyband agency. Although the abuse rumors had long circulated, it was only in recent years that they gained significant attention, leading to Kitagawa’s resignation recommendation and the emergence of more victims.

The J-pop agency, once associated with launching young talent into stardom, is now under scrutiny for its association with sexual abuse. The question of whether the agency will undergo significant changes, including its name, remains a topic of discussion.