Declaring New Year’s gifts as expenses, alleged blank receipts… “Unscrupulous cash management of the office” that hangs over the new president, Noriyuki Higashiyama. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Declaring New Year’s gifts as expenses, alleged blank receipts… “Unscrupulous cash management of the office” that hangs over the new president, Noriyuki Higashiyama.

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At the press conference held on September 7, Higashiyama repeatedly used strong language and referred to his own responsibility. Will he be able to reform his office? ……

I will tackle this issue with my life, with my life.”

On September 7, the Johnny’s s office held a press conference regarding the sexual assault of its founder, Mr. Kitagawa Johnny (87 years old). Noriyuki Higashiyama (56), who attended the press conference, expressed his determination to tackle the issue of his “mentor” head-on.

At the beginning of the press conference, he acknowledged the fact that there had been a series of sexual assault issues, and also announced that former president Keiko Fujishima Julie (57) had resigned as representative director on September 5, and that Mr. Higashiyama had assumed the position of president. Higashiyama-san will retire from show business within this year.

According to the investigation report released on August 29 by a “special team of outside experts to prevent recurrence,” “at least several hundred” Jr. Higashiyama expressed his willingness to “move forward from now on, including compensation” for such victims.

He will probably work on the problems caused by the founder in the future. A person involved in the entertainment industry speculates that the company will also take steps for “reform” related to money.

It is said that the total amount of compensation in the event of a lawsuit by a former Jr. victim regarding past sexual assaults would be no less than 10 billion yen. We need to establish a system to manage the assets in the office, including countermeasures against such cases. It is conceivable that our accounting and financial systems will undergo major changes.”

Johnny’s has been in the headlines recently for its sexual assaults, but in the past it has caused a stir with its “money problems” on a number of occasions.

Last December, it was discovered that Johnny’s and two of its affiliated companies had been writing off New Year’s gifts to their talents as “entertainment expenses” over a five-year period from 2004 to 2009. The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau assessed approximately 40 million yen in additional taxes. It has long been the custom for the president of Johnny’s to give New Year’s gifts to the talents at the beginning of the New Year. If it was the president’s own expense, there would be no problem, but the discrepancy with the general public’s perception of “New Year’s gifts being paid out of expenses” has been brought to light.

Although the “New Year’s gift issue” was reported by several media outlets, it was resolved when Johnny’s filed an amended tax return and paid the tax. However, a TV station official said that another money-related “allegation” surfaced in the series of reports of sexual assault.

According to the August issue of Shukan Bunshun, former Johnny’s Jr. member Yukihiro Oshima (38) was also revealed to have been victimized by Mr. Johnny’s in the 1990s. According to the magazine, after being sexually assaulted, Mr. Oshima was given 50,000 yen and asked by Mr. Janney to write his name and the amount on a receipt labeled “transportation expenses. It is unclear what happened to the receipt after that, but if Mr. Janney wrote off the 50,000 yen receipt as an expense, it could be considered embezzlement.

Since the person in question is dead, there is no way to clarify the “blank receipt allegation. However, if this kind of use of money was the norm, as was the case with the “New Year’s gift,” it would be necessary to reform the fund management system. Higashiyama, the new president, must fundamentally rethink the structure of the office.

The Johnny’s office had been managed by the family, with Mr. Johnny, Mary Kitagawa (93 years old), and Julie. As Higashiyama said at the press conference, “There was an absolute presence (of Mr. Janney), and the atmosphere was not very open,” so perhaps there was an atmosphere in which it was difficult to express one’s opinions clearly to the three. From now on, it is necessary to listen to the opinions of the employees of Johnny’s and have everyone work together as one.

Will Johnny’s be reborn under the leadership of new president Higashiyama?

  • PHOTO Keisuke Nishi

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