NIIGATA (TR) – Maho Yamaguchi, a member of idol group NGT48 who has been a point of controversy after an alleged assault of her by two fans last year, has announced that she will “graduate” from the group.
On Sunday, Yamaguchi appeared as vice captain of NGT48’s Team G at the group’s theater in Niigata City for the first time in three months. During her farewell speech, she criticized agency AKS for its the lax handing of the alleged assault in December, when two men grabbed her by the face and shoved her down as tried to close the front door of her residence in Niigata City.
“When I discussed the incident, the president [of agency AKS] said, ‘There is no incident since nobody was prosecuted,’” said Yamaguchi. “And now I am labeled as an attacker of the company, but I just want to protect the members [of the group]. I really wanted to perform seriously in a place where wholesome idol activities could be done, but no matter what I did this group was longer a place to do that.”
According to previous reports, Niigata Prefectural Police accused the men of assault after the incident. During questioning, the pair denied the charges, saying they merely wanted to speak with Yamaguchi. They were released on December 29.
Last performed in January
Yamaguchi last performed with the group in January. That same month, the idol divulged details of the alleged assault on Twitter. In one tweet, she said that that the perpetrators told her that it was at least one member of NGT48 who informed them of her schedule and where she lives.
AKS came under fire over its indifferent handling of the incident, refraining from commenting until Yamaguchi took to Twitter. The agency then announced that Maiko Hayakawa would replace Etsuro Imamura as the manager of the theater.
Last month, AKS revealed that the results of a third-party inquiry into the matter showed that some members indeed had relationships with fans but that the cause of the incident was “excessive” behavior by the two fans.
Upon the release of the results, Yamaguchi blasted the announcement, saying that AKS “was telling lies.” She also claimed that AKS had promised to dismiss any members who were proven to have ties with fans.
Several days after the release of the results, Natsuko Yoshinari, representative director of AKS, and Hayakawa apologized to vice governor Hiroshi Mizoguchi at the government office. “Due to our initial handling of the incident, we lost the trust of the people of the prefecture,” Yoshinari said.