Japanese pop group AKB48 assaulted with saw, cancels events

By Chris Hayes,

Two members of the Japanese teen pop group AKB48 were injured by a saw-wielding man at a meet-and-greet event in the city of Takizawa.

As previously reported, authorities have identified the attacker as 24-year-old, unemployed Satoru Umeta. However, Reuters later reported that he told police that he was not trying to kill AKB48’s members, but anyone at all. His motives are currently unknown.

Reuters also reports that dancers Rina Kawaei, 19, and Anna Iriyama, 18 were rushed to the hospital with broken fingers and cuts and bruises to the head. They are now in stable condition and will be able leave the hospital tomorrow.

AKB48 has cancelled events across Japan in response.

The attacker was able to reach the pop idols because AKB48 is designed to be accessible to audiences in person. Unlike most Western pop acts, AKB48 is made up of about 90 rotating members divided into smaller groups, with affiliates in other cities in Japan and across Asia. This allows the group to simultaneously play in their theater in Akihabara, Tokyo, tour other cities, and meet with fans almost every day.



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