The handling of the Yamaguchi Maho assault scandal has continued to plague NGT48, and the plan they had to downplay things and move on doesn’t appear to be working. It was recently reported that AKS executives apologized to the mayor of Niigata (where NGT48 is based) over the mess.
Media is reporting that AKS executives apologized to Niigata City mayor Nakahara Yaichi. Last week, Niigata City ended all NGT48 promotions for the city after AKS’ handling of the Yamaguchi Maho assault. According to the city division, on March 29th at 4:00 p.m., the AKS Representative Director, the NGT48 Theater Manager and the Deputy Vice President visited the City Hall and met for 30 minutes. AKS said they would work to restore confidence. After the meeting, on April 5th, Nakahara issued a statement, “Miss Yamaguchi is still having a hard time from the assault and I am very worried about what happened”. In addition, Nakahara said in regards to AKS, that they hope they can restore trust so they can eliminate all fears of mistrust.
Despite this, there has been no sign of the city deviating from their plan of divesting from NGT48 doing public relations for the city starting in April, with the ward of Minami in Niigata also reportedly cancelling contracts. Also happening in the last month or so is NGT48 losing three radio programs and a television program. Additionally, JR East said they were not considering renewing with the group.
Likely as a result of all this, NGT48 recently announced that they would essentially be scrapping everything and starting over.
NGT48 has announced on their official website that their existing team system has been eliminated. The new team will now incorporate NGT48 first year students and kenkyuusei (training students). At this time, NGT48 has two teams. N3 with ten members and Team G with eleven members. While both groups will perform on April 21st, right after, a decision of the changes will be announced.
It comes off like their initial plan of sweeping this under the rug with their “investigation” didn’t work (especially after Maho refuted it), so this is a rebranding attempt of sorts where they can pretend it’s a fresh start and all the bad shit was somebody else.