Newspaper: Former NGT48 Manager Transferred to AKS Tokyo Home Office
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
The Nikkan Sports newspaper reported on Friday that former NGT48 theater manager Etsurō Imamura has been appointed as board member in the AKS main office in Tokyo.
This appointment follows the alleged assault of Team G vice captain Maho Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi's comments on the incident, and the replacement of Imamura with the new theater manager Maiko Hayakawa and new assistant theater manager Tsuyoshi Okada.
AKS is the management company of AKB48 and its sister groups, including NGT48.
The alleged assault occurred in December; the two suspects allegedly confronted Yamaguchi outside her own home in Niigata and grabbed her face as she was entering her home. According to the police, both suspects were 25-year-old unemployed university students. The police said that the suspects "only wanted to talk to Yamaguchi, and didn't think it would be a big deal." The suspects denied the assault and were subsequently released without charges.
Yamaguchi began speaking about the incident on social media about a month later. 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.
At a performance on January 10, Yamaguchi apologized for "causing trouble," apparently because of these statements.
AKS posted a statement last week, saying that Imamura had been working with the police to investigate the issue, and that another member of NGT48 had given up the time in which Yamaguchi returns home to a man who accosted her on the street.
However, in another statement on Monday, the company announced that it had not found any evidence of "unlawful action" by NGT48 members, but it will still tap lawyers and experts to form a third-party committee to investigate if any members had performed "inappropriate conduct." The company announced Imamura's resignation in the same statement.
AKS company director Takumi Matsumura appeared with Hayakawa and Okada at a press conference on Monday to apologize for recent events and for the delay in responding to the issue. Matsumura explained that Hayakawa was appointed because she is a woman and understands a woman's point of view.
Yamaguchi and two other members, Riko Sugahara and Ayaka Tano, were absent from the group's performance last Saturday. Sugahara was absent due to an illness, but Tano mentioned that, while she was not involved in recent events, she and her family were worried for her safety after police showed up to question her without explanation. The scheduled January 22 and 23 performances of NGT48's Team NIII subgroup were also canceled.
NGT48 is a sister group of the AKB48 idol group based in Niigata prefecture, and it launched in 2015.