Sexual abuse accusations against the late founder of entertainment powerhouse Johnny & Associates, one of Japan’s largest talent agencies, have been circulating in magazines and books for decades, but it was reports by overseas media outlets that ultimately cleared the way for coverage in the mainstream domestic press.

Yasushi Hashida, 37, who says he was a victim of Johnny Kitagawa, told a meeting organized by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) on Tuesday that reports by foreign media were key in bringing the issue to the forefront.

Moves to address the issue represent “a big step,” Hashida said, adding that it would be better if Japan could address such issues in the future “without the influence of foreign media.”