• Kyodo


A 24-year-old unemployed man was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison for attacking two members of the all-girl pop group AKB48 and a male staff member with a saw at a fan event last year in Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture.

Satoru Umeta, of Towada, Aomori Prefecture, was convicted of assaulting Rina Kawaei and Anna Iriyama, both 19, as well as a male staffer in his 20s last May 25.

All three sustained severe injuries.

Umeta, on trial at the Morioka District Court, pleaded guilty. Prosecutors had sought seven years in prison.

Presiding Judge Takehiko Okada said Umeta carried out the attack out of frustration over his failure to find a job.

“What he did was a dangerous act that might have claimed the lives of the victims,” Okada said.

The attack took place at an event where AKB48 fans could meet and shake hands with members of the group.

The group is hugely popular and now has sister groups elsewhere in Japan and abroad, including in Jakarta and Shanghai.

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