Johnny’s Entertainment received a warning from Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) under suspicion of putting pressure on TV programs and forcing TV stations to not use any of the three former SMAP members who left to join Atarashii Chizu.
According to relevant parties, JTFC came to hear about the action taken by Johnny’s and went in to investigate. As this action violates the antitrust law, JTFC decided to give Johnny and Associates a warning.
SMAP disbanded in December 2016 and in September of the following year, three of the members, Inagaki Goro, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, and Katori Shingo left the agency to join Atarashii Chizu, a new talent agency set up by their former manager Iijima Michi, who is also the arch-enemy of Mary Kitagawa and her daughter Julie.
In the beginning, the three were so popular, even Dirty Shoes commented how they seem to appear in every single commercial there is on TV. All three were also regular members in several TV shows in regional TV stations. However, their regular programs gradually got cancelled one after another to the point that they no longer have any regular programs now.
When the three first left Johnny and Associates, the late CEO Johnny himself commented that despite the fact that the trio have decided to move in a different direction, he wishes the best for them to continue providing joy and entertainment to the public no matter where they are, because after all, the three of them have worked hard for his agency for many years.
With his passing, however, there’s no one stopping anyone in Johnny’s from trying to take down the former SMAP members. While the biggest suspect in this scandal is probably Mary, some have commented that with Johnny no longer around, Johnny and Associates has become just another talent agency with no charismatic leader to bring the agency to new heights. None of the remaining management members are deemed influential enough to “move the world” anymore. And this warning could be a stark indicator of that; that the agency can no longer do as they please.