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Avid fans of all-girl pop act AKB48 braved a persistent drizzle outside Aichi Sky Expo on a recent Saturday morning, forming a long queue as they waited for a “handshaking” session with the group’s idols to kick off.

Some had traveled long distances for the meet-and-greet at the facility that is just a 30-minute train ride from Nagoya, even booking nearby hotel rooms so they could attend the second day of the same event.

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