On December 9th, Atsushi Fukuda, a 58-year-old consultant and president of a consulting firm, held a press meeting in Tokyo for the newly established company "STARTO ENTERTAINMENT." Fukuda has assumed the role of CEO for this company, positioned as a successor for talents formerly under the Johnny & Associates talent agency.
During the interview, Fukuda emphasized the significant global influence of talents' polished skills in singing, dancing, and acting, referring to them as Japan's treasures. He explained that amid controversies surrounding the previous agency, now known as "SMILE-UP," particularly related to sexual misconduct, he took on this responsibility with the aim of potentially contributing to saving outstanding content from being lost. He also expressed an ambitious vision to use this opportunity to modernize the aging industry.
Regarding the new company's structure, Fukuda clarified that the capital comes from joint investments by the management team and employees, with no financial ties to SMILE-UP or its affiliated companies. Yoshihiko Inohara, a talent and former V6 member, has assumed the role of COO, having resigned from his position as vice president at SMILE-UP. This restructuring is not only financial but also extends to personnel, indicating a clear separation of management between the two entities.
It's worth noting that SMILE-UP has a unique mission: its sole purpose is to compensate victims. Once the victims are appropriately compensated, the company will cease to exist. This approach underscores a commitment to addressing the concerns and consequences of past issues within the entertainment industry.