National

Assaulted member of AKB48 spinoff criticizes results of AKS probe as 'lies'

Kyodo

A member of a sister group of the popular all-girl band AKB48 on Friday criticized the outcome of a probe into an alleged assault against her as “lies” while the group’s management company was disclosing the result.

Management company AKS said an investigation launched after Maho Yamaguchi, a 23-year-old member of NGT48, was grabbed by the face by two men at her home in December, found no evidence that any member of the group was involved.

But Yamaguchi said Friday in a Twitter post that there are members who admitted having private connections with the attackers.

“Why do they continue telling lies,” she wrote in the post while company officials were holding a news conference to announce the results of the investigation. “I’m really sad.”

Maiko Hayakawa, manager of the theater for Niigata-based NGT48, said at the news conference that Yamaguchi complained about the conclusion because it did not reflect her opinions.

But AKS will seek to “move forward and continue activities with her for NGT,” while continuing to discuss the matter with her, Hayakawa said.

Yamaguchi said in the post that the company had told her that if it found anyone having personal links to fans it would dismiss them all and she had high hopes for the investigation.

The investigative committee found that some members had personal relationships with fans and said this is problematic but concluded that “excessive behavior by some fans” caused the incident.

The two men were arrested by local police but not indicted.

The company came under criticism for its tepid handling of the case because it did not reveal the incident until she wrote about the assault in a Twitter post in January and did not respond promptly.

AKS replaced Etsuro Imamura as manager of the theater in January after the incident came to light.

The company operates Tokyo-based AKB48 and many affiliates at home as well as overseas, such as JKT48 in Indonesia, BNK48 in Thailand and MNL48 in the Philippines.

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