An unemployed 18-year-old man pretended to be a TV station worker and filmed the members of AKB48 during their handshake event in Sapporo city in the Hokkaido prefecture. Currently, he is being questioned by the Hokkaido police.
AKB48’s agency has expressed caution regarding the matter, stating, “There is the possibility that this was an organized crime.”
The handshake event which the man intruded on was held on May 15th. 20 members of AKB48, including Maeda Atsuko and Takahashi Minami, shook hands with 1100 fans who had bought the first press limited edition of their single, “Sakura no Ki ni Narou“.
According to a source, three local media outlets, including Hokkaido Broadcasting Corporation (HBC), were covering the event. The 18-year old suspect was found wearing an arm band and identity card with the HBC logo on it. He had also rented a professional video camera from a rental company. He then put a HBC sticker on the video camera and shot footage of the members among the actual crew of the TV stations.
Since the interview with the press was scheduled to be the first five minutes of the event which started around 1:30 PM, the media staff left not long after that, however the intruder continued filming until around 5 PM. Occasionally, he even talked to the members to film “comment footages”.
The members were separated into 12 lanes, of which the man filmed each one carefully. When he got to the last lane, an AKB48 staff became suspicious of the unusually long filming time. When questioned, the man replied, “You have to ask my boss“. The staff spoke to a man who said he was the intruder’s boss on the phone, but the conversation did not make sense.
The man, after questioning, named member Yokoyama Yui, who was not present at the event, as his favorite member.
Although initially thought to be just an over-enthusiastic fan, fears that he was part of an organized effort to sell illegal footage prompted staff to call the police.
Fans are strictly forbidden to take video at AKB48 events, and are banned from further events and theatre performances if caught.