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Court Hands Suspended Prison Sentence to Former AKB48 Member's Stalker

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Police arrested suspect last June for stalking Karen Iwata

The Tokyo District Court handed a guilty sentence on Thursday to Hidenobu Ōnishi, the man who was arrested for stalking and harassing 20-year-old actress, singer, and former AKB48 idol group member Karen Iwata. Ōnishi is sentenced to four months in prison, but the sentence is suspended for three years (if he remains in good behavior for the indicated time period, he will not serve his sentence).

Ōnishi was arrested last June. According to the police, Ōnishi had been a "fan" of Iwata since 2012, the year after she debuted as part of the main AKB48 idol group. At a handshake event in 2013, the suspect allegedly proposed to Iwata, who then declined. The idol group's staff then took steps to distance the two. After the incident, the suspect allegedly wrote threats to Iwata and her family, and repeatedly attended events where Iwata was present.

Iwata alerted police to the suspect's actions. The police supposedly sent numerous oral and written warnings to the suspect. However, the suspect continued to attend events, and was arrested due to alleged stalking activity.

Iwata debuted in the AKB48 idol group as a trainee in 2011, and graduated from the group in 2016. She voiced the character Nagisa Motomiya in the AKB0048 anime based on the idol group. She also acted in the 2017 stage play adaptation of Kia Asamiya's Silent Möbius manga. Iwata also played the character Seiko Matano in the live-action series and film adaptations of the Saki Achiga-hen episode of side-A manga.

Source: TBS News

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