The UNHRC group criticizes the way in which Smile-Up deals with victims of sexual abuse

PARIS — A U.N. human rights group concluded that concerns remain about assisting the victims of sexual assault committed by the late founder of a talent agency formerly known as Johnny & Associates Inc. (now Smile-Up Inc.).

The case was mentioned in a report on human rights violations in Japan released on May 28 by the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises.

The report states that although Smile-Up has made some efforts such as offering compensation to victims, “this is still a long way to meet the needs of the victims who have requested timely remedial measures, including those whose compensation claims have not yet been finalized.” appeal.”

But it criticized that such monetary compensation “does not cover legal costs, leaving victims to bear these costs themselves,” and that it is “unacceptable.”

The report also lamented that victims have experienced difficulties “seeking mental health help” through the company’s counseling desk.

The report also stated: “While the Working Group welcomes the various actions taken by companies associated with Smile-Up to take on greater responsibility, it is still important to carefully consider the human rights implications of withdrawal to consider and exert influence as a first step.”

This apparently refers to the fact that sponsors and TV stations reconsidered their contracts with the agency after the sexual abuse of its founder, Johnny Kitagawa, came to light.

The report will be submitted to the UNHRC meeting, which will take place on June 18 at the UN European Headquarters in Geneva.

The working group that carried out the report was established based on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in an International Framework adopted by the UNHCR in 2011.

Its purpose is to encourage countries to work to prevent human rights violations through business activities.

In July and August 2023, experts from the working group visited Japan and interviewed victims about the problem of sexual abuse at the talent agency.

Although the report is not legally binding, Japan, as a member of the United Nations, is obliged to take appropriate action.

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