NGT48 Member Assault Case Highlights Idol Rights Protection

Society Culture

Niigata, Jan. 21 (Jiji Press)--An alleged assault on Maho Yamaguchi, a member of all-girl idol group NGT48, last month and the subsequent revelation of the incident online by the 23-year-old herself highlighted the need to protect idol entertainers, who tend to be easily isolated, and their rights.

On Dec. 9, a male university student and a jobless man, both 25, were arrested by the police department of Niigata Prefecture on charges including grabbing Yamaguchi by the face at the entrance of her home. They escaped indictment.

NGT48, operating mainly in the prefecture, is a sister unit of AKB48, a hugely popular idol group, whose members are all girls as well.

Early this month, Yamaguchi reported the incident in an online video with tears in her eyes, hinting at the possibility of an NGT48 member having disclosed her personal information to the men. She claimed that she released the footage because the talent agency for NGT48 failed to respond fully to her request that preventative measures be taken.

Asuka Yasui, an executive at a Japanese entertainer rights association, said that idols tend to get isolated due partly to harsh competition with rivals. Yasui stressed the importance of talent management agencies carefully listening to idols and the need for "a system to protect their rights properly."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press