Fans see red over agency's findings on assault of singer

Singer Maho Yamaguchi alleged that she was attacked by two men near her home.
Singer Maho Yamaguchi alleged that she was attacked by two men near her home.PHOTO: MAHO YAMAGUCHI/ INSTAGRAM

TOKYO • Maho Yamaguchi, a singer with Japanese girl group NGT48, said in January that she was attacked by two men near her home. In a video livestream, she told fans that one of them said they found out from a bandmate where she lived.

The men were later arrested, but denied they had grabbed her.

Last Friday, NGT48's agency AKS said its probe found no wrongdoing by any member and that Yamaguchi, 23, had suffered "excessive fan behaviour" from the men.

That prompted the singer to post: "Why are they continuously telling lies? I'm really sad."

Adding that AKS did not talk to the police or her, she said: "Why must I continue being hurt by the company even after this incident?"

The agency's statement has also not gone down well with netizens, reported the Tokyo Reporter portal. They asked whether the country's entertainment industry and the police were taking her complaint too lightly and not doing enough to protect artists.

Describing AKS' finding as a cover-up, they slammed it for seemingly taking a stand that it is okay to assault women.

Some netizens noted previously that - not long after the attack - Yamaguchi said sorry on stage, while performing with NGT48, for causing "trouble".

Did AKS force her to do so, they said, afraid that any negative publicity would damage the brand value of NGT48 in a highly competitive J-pop industry?

There is now speculation that Yamaguchi is set to leave the group.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2019, with the headline 'Fans see red over agency's findings on assault of singer'. Print Edition | Subscribe