NGT48 Idol Group Manager Resigns, Management Forms Committee to Investigate Members' Actions

posted on by Karen Ressler & Rafael Antonio Pineda
Maho Yamaguchi, Ayaka Tano, Riko Sugahara did not attend Saturday performance

The official website for the NGT48 idol group issued a statement on Monday that revealed that NGT48 theater manager Etsurō Imamura has resigned as manager of the idol group, and has been replaced by Maiko Hayakawa, with Tsuyoshi Okada as assistant manager. The resignation comes after NGT48 group member Maho Yamaguchi (pictured right) made statements on social media last week regarding an incident in December where two men were arrested, but subsequently released, for allegedly assaulting her outside her own home.

In addition, the statement reiterated on Monday that the police only identified two suspects, with no other accomplices, and denied allegations that an NGT48 member had told the suspects Yamaguchi's home address and schedule. The statement added that while AKS ― the management group for AKB48 and its sister groups ― had not found any evidence of "unlawful action" by NGT48 members, it will still tap lawyers and experts to form a third-party committee to investigate if any members had performed "inappropriate conduct."

News website Sponichi Annex cited an unnamed source in a report on Monday, who claimed that Yamaguchi's two assailants were acquaintances of an NGT48 member, and whose appearances were familiar to many of the group's members.

Yamaguchi and NGT48 member Ayaka Tano were absent from the group's performance on Saturday. The staff apologized for the short notice, but did not give a reason for their absence. Riko Sugahara was also absent from the Saturday performance due to being sick.

At a performance last Thursday, Yamaguchi apologized for "causing trouble," apparently due to her statements. Yamaguchi said that she initially kept silent about the incident so as not to cause trouble, but eventually spoke out because, as she said, "it's been so hard on me I don't want the same thing to happen to the other girls [of NGT48]." Yamaguchi also reportedly spoke out on Twitter against Imamura for keeping the issue silent and against a fellow NGT48 member for giving up her home address, although ANN was not able to verify if Yamaguchi posted and then removed these tweets.

Yamaguchi also reported on Twitter earlier this week that she has lost weight over the past few weeks due to stress.

Tano, meanwhile, said on Twitter on Sunday that she was not involved in recent events, but that police came to question her without explanation, and she and her family members are worried for her safety. She also said she is not in good physical shape, but that she has more that she would like to share.

NGT48 is a sister group of the AKB48 idol group based in Niigata prefecture, and it launched in 2015.

Sources: NGT48's website (link 2) (link 3), Sponichi Annex via Hachima Kikō, Yaraon!, Otakomu

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