Johnny & Associates Chided over 3 Ex-SMAP Members' TV Appearances

Society Culture Politics

Tokyo, July 17 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Fair Trade Commission has chided major talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. over practices that could lead to a violation of the antimonopoly law regarding television appearances by three of the five former members of disbanded male pop group SMAP, it was learned Wednesday.

After the breakup of the iconic group at the end of December 2016, the five continued their solo activities while remaining at the agency.

But the three former members in question--Goro Inagaki, 45, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, 45, and Shingo Katori, 42--ended their contracts with Johnny & Associates in September 2017 and moved to a new agency created by a former SMAP manager.

Around that time, many commercial TV programs featuring the three were terminated.

According to informed sources, the FTC investigated Johnny & Associates for allegedly putting pressure on commercial TV stations to prevent the three former members from appearing on their programs.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press