"I don't believe just doing this means I can be forgiven for what I did, but the first thing I thought was that I don't want to quit AKB48," [said Minami Minegishi ].... "If it is possible, I wish from the bottom of my heart to stay in the band. Everything I did is entirely my fault. I am so sorry."...I'm no expert on Japanese culture, but it seems to me that if there were 90 of these AKB48-ers and you were destined to exit soon enough by getting slightly older that going out like this is a more effective way to achieve pop stardom than being in the darned group.
Minegishi was one of the original members of AKB48 when it was launched by producer Yasushi Akimoto in 2005. The band is made up of some 90 girls - whose ages range from mid teens to early 20s - who, in teams, appear daily in their own theatre and regularly on television, in adverts, and in magazines.
They portray an image of cuteness known as "kawaii", and have become a huge phenomenon both in Japan and increasingly in other Asian countries, correspondents say.
February 3, 2013
"... after breaking her management firm's rules by spending a night with her boyfriend."