A former NMB48 member leaked a copy of their contract to Shukan Bunshun in order to expose the existence of a clause that allegedly makes it a so-called ‘slave contract’. Specifically, the clause in question reads, “Do not conduct external arts activities for two years starting from the date of termination of this contract.” Regarding the clause, an anonymous former NMB48 member commented, “It’s almost like a slave contract! If you stop activity for two years, it’s actually a retirement from the entertainment world.”
Shukan Bunshun consulted with a legal expert on the matter, who concluded that the contract could definitely be found illegal.
It’s hard to argue with the logic. People already act like an idol group that doesn’t release anything in a year are dead and buried, so in a market flooded with idols, for an individual to take two years off effectively kills their career. Thus, the contract basically gives the company absolute leverage over the idol (ignoring that they would likely blacklist anybody leaving against their wishes anyway, but I digress).
Unlike the other 48 Groups, NMB48 are contracted to Yoshimoto Kogyo, which explains why their contracts are different from the rest. In response to the report, the company doesn’t even bother denying it, they just say it’s not enforced and newer contracts don’t have the clause.
Yeah, even if it’s true that they haven’t invoked it yet, all that means is that they haven’t run into a situation where they’ve wanted to. Handshake agreements are always fine and dandy until shit hits the fan and things get ugly.
Anyway, after they got word of this story, I wonder how quickly they made their new members sign a revised contract so they could say everything is cool now and there’s no need for mess? An hour, max, I figure.