A member of a popular group of Japanese girls apologized to the fans on Thursday for talking about an assault charge, telling members of the audience during one of the group's performances that he was "really sorry" "for" causing trouble ".
Maho Yamaguchi, a member of the NGT48 idol, said two men tried to grab his face at the entrance of his apartment on December 8 in the city of Niigata. The two, declared unemployed and in their early twenties, were arrested and released without charge after telling the police that they "just wanted to talk to Yamaguchi", according to the Japanese national NHK.
Yamaguchi made the accusation at the start of this week during a live-stream that was abruptly interrupted, reports Billboard. He later said on Twitter that she remained silent for a month hoping that the leadership of his group would do something about the accident. He also expressed concerns about his safety and that of his colleagues.
The 23-year-old pop star, nicknamed "Mahohon", has since received waves of online support. Using the hashtag #JusticeforMahohon the fans offered understanding and expressed anger towards the management of the situation.
An online petition calling for the resignation of the NGT48 theater director Etsuro Imamura and a public apology from NGT48 staff had received more than 25,000 signatures starting from Friday afternoon local time.
Rino Sashihara, one of the most popular members of NGT48 HKT48 Affiliate Group, also tweeted his support. He said that Yamaguchi should not apologize and that she is worried that Yamaguchi will blame herself.
AKS, the talent agency running NGT48, apologized Thursday in a statement published on the group's official website for "concerns and problems caused", "Acknowledging that the situation was not managed as well as it would He said Imamuro was assisting the police with investigations for the last month.
The company added that it provided members with personal alarm devices and said it would patrol neighborhoods where members live and provide Consulting
NGT48 and AKS did not respond to TIME's requests for comments through their websites.
NGT48, created in 2015 by the popular AKS production group, has more than 40 members. ; Japanese pop act AKB48 and its affiliated groups in Japan and China as SKE48 and SNH48.