A investigation by Shukan Bunshun has credibly found that Sweet Power Agency, home to major actresses within Japan like Meisa Kuroki, Mirei Kiritani and retired Maki Horikita, permitted its president Naomi Okada (53) to sexually harass actresses in their company.
Victim Yuka Suzuki (pseudonym) was one of those scouted by Okada. Formed in the 90s, Sweet Power was legendary in the industry for Okada‘s ability to scout talent. Many of those personally scouted would end up becoming major stars, so when Suzuki was scouted there was no reason to doubt the company’s ability.
The problems began when Suzuki entered the company. For over a year and a half, she was required to sleep physically together with Okada in a double bed with Okada as they held hands, and she even complained about this to people at the time. Bunshun confirmed these details through various interviews.
In fact, when Bunshun asked if another person related to the case was also getting sexually harassed by Okada, the answer they got was a vague “I cannot say right now”.
Bunshun reached out to Okada directly to verify. The details of the interview are below:
Bunshun (B): We have heard from Suzuki that she lived with you in your house, and that you have a double bed in your bedroom for this purpose.
Okada (O): That was our company dormitory. Everyone has one. Plus, everyone in the company dorm has a double bed in each room that they all sleep alone on.
B: Have you ever slept together with her?
B: [But if you were to ask them to sleep with you], you would agree that the actresses would be in a vulnerable position where they could not refuse, yes?
O: Vulnerable position? That’s just for girls who have ambition! We’re different. We explicitly scout girls with no motivation, and bend over backwards to accommodate them. Therefore they’re never in that situation because they can quit and go home anytime.Okada interview in Shukan Bunshun
Speaking to lawyer Yumi Itakura, not only was this clearly a case of sexual harassment and assault given the very clear power imbalance, but Itakura pointed out explicitly that “the victim was a minor”, implying that Okada was personally responsible for Suzuki‘s safety and well being given her age.
Bunshun pointed out that despite the fact that their previous Johnny’s reporting on pedophilia and sexual harassment was proven true in court, the entertainment industry completely ignored the situation, pretending that everything in their reporting was false. There is now a question as to whether this reporting too would also be ignored given the power of the agency in question, as Sweet Power has formerly been referred to as the “female Johnny’s” of Japan.
This Thursday, Shukan Bunshun is promising to release more details on the case, including some involving former Kara member Jiyoung.