Asahi to end use of Johnny's personalities in ads

Asahi Group Holdings plans to halt the use of Johnny & Associates personalities in its advertising from now on, in response to a sexual abuse scandal involving the major talent agency’s late founder.

The major Japanese food and beverage maker made the decision not to feature Johnny’s talents in its future sales promotion activities “to prevent itself from promoting human rights violations by a business partner,” an Asahi public relations official said Friday.


In television commercials and online advertisements, the company has been using members of the agency, including Junichi Okada, a former member of the now-disbanded male idol group V6, for a Super Dry beer product in a special can that produces foam when opened. Snow Man, a nine-member male group, has also been featured in commercials for its Mintia candy brand.


The airing of such advertisements will be suspended in stages. The company plans not to renew existing advertising contracts with the agency.

“We demand that Johnny & Associates implement preventive measures swiftly and take sincere actions, including offering relief for victims,” the Asahi official said.

Asahi’s industry rivals are also considering moves.

Suntory Holdings said it “will closely check (the talent agency’s) responses and decide how to deal with the situation.”

Kirin Holdings said it will consider its response after seeing relief measures to be rolled out by the agency.

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