Lack of Confirmation Leaves 43 Individuals in Limbo with SMILE-UP Enrollment | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Lack of Confirmation Leaves 43 Individuals in Limbo with SMILE-UP Enrollment

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The compensation issue still seems to be dragging on.

“Regarding those who have been determined to have no confirmed enrollment with our company and no confirmation of any damages, we have initiated notifications indicating that no compensation will be provided. As of today, we have contacted 43 individuals.” 

On February 29th, “SMILE-UP.” (formerly associated with Johnny’s Office) officially announced on their website the compensation status for victims of sexual abuse by the late Johnny Kitagawa.

“As of today, out of the 964 individuals who reported being victims, compensation amounts have been proposed to 325 by the Victim Relief Committee. Among them, agreements have been reached with 249 individuals, and compensation has been provided.”

At the same time, it was revealed that notifications indicating no compensation will be provided have been sent to the 43 individuals who were determined to have no confirmed enrollment or evidence of damages.

“There may have been individuals who falsely claimed to be victims. According to last year’s third-party committee investigation, it was said that there were at least several hundred victims of sexual abuse by Mr. Kitagawa. Currently, the number of reported victims is approaching 1000. Since juniors do not have signed contracts, there were doubts about how to distinguish between false claimants and individuals whose enrollment cannot be confirmed from the beginning,” said a sports newspaper reporter.

“SMILE-UP.” stated examples of cases where evidence of damages could not be confirmed.

“Some claimants are demanding compensation for damages under different pretexts, alleging that they were emotionally harmed by public statements made by our affiliated talents, despite not having experienced sexual abuse.”

“Some claimants allege they were victims in Japan during a period when the late Johnny Kitagawa was residing abroad.”

While false claims should not be tolerated, during a press conference last year, President Noriyuki Higashiyama expressed Mr. Johnny Kitagawa’s sexual abuse as inhumane acts. These acts have been occurring for many years, targeting junior high school students who may not even recognize it as sexual abuse. There are cases where individuals have reported being victims on the same day they participated in dance lessons, even cases where former talents from other agencies have reported being victims.



How to address those who lack enrollment records? “SMILE-UP.” has declared:

“For individuals for whom our enrollment records cannot be confirmed (including those who have themselves stated the lack of enrollment records), if the plausibility of the claims is confirmed, we will consult with the Victim Relief Committee and compensate for cases deemed appropriate for compensation.”

Indeed, there have been cases where the plausibility of the claims was acknowledged.

“I brought fan letters from that time, and my enrollment was recognized. The impression I got was that they were supportive during the interview because my enrollment could be confirmed. Still, recalling the past to report the abuse was tormenting me with flashbacks each time.

For those who cannot prove enrollment, undergoing interrogation would be even more painful. I wonder how those who were victimized on their first day of lessons can prove it. It’s not about frequency or duration; if you were victimized even once, you’re a victim.” (Former junior male talent)

Regarding the inhumane acts, the term plausibility of the claims sounds overly ambiguous.

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  • PHOTO Kazuhiko Nakamura

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