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Accused stalker of ex-AKB48 member Karen Iwata sent 1,500 fan letters

Hidenobu Onishi
Hidenobu Onishi (Twitter)

TOKYO (TR) – Following the arrest of a 42-year-old man over the alleged stalking of a former member of all-girl idol group AKB48, Tokyo Metropolitan Police have revealed that the suspect repeatedly sent the victim fan letters over a two-year period, reports Jiji Press (June 19).

Over a two-year period, Hidenobu Onishi, a resident of Edogawa Ward, sent about 1,500 fan letters to former AKB48 member Karen Iwata, who made her debut with the group in 2012, according to police.

Onishi turned himself over to police on Tuesday afternoon. He was subsequently accused of violating the Stalker Control Law. “There are facts in arrest warrant and there are also areas that are different from the facts,” the suspect was quoted by police at the time of his arrest.

The arrest came as a result of two incidents. On April 28, Onishi allegedly intruded into the ticket area of an event in the capital featuring Iwata. As well, the suspect posted a message on his Twitter account on June 13 in which he demanded an apology for allegedly being falsely accused of stalking from AKS, the group’s management agency.

Beginning around 2012, Onishi began to attend meet-and-greet “handshake” events featuring members of AKB48. The next November, the suspect proposed marriage to Iwata at such an event. AKS subsequently banned the suspect from attending future events.

In April of last year, police issued a warning to the suspect about harassing Iwata.

In 2016, Iwata left the group, appearing at a “graduation” event held that March.