20 Jun – AKB48 member Sashihara Rino has been transferred to join HKT48, after an ex-boyfriend had revealed their relationship to a tabloid magazine.
According to Tokyo Hive, AKB48 producer Akimoto Yasushi had announced on the "AKB48's All Night Nippon" radio show on June 16, that Sashihara would be transferred to the Fukuoka-based sister group. Yasushi said that the transfer is more of a 'restart' for Sashihara, rather than a 'punishment' for the scandal.
According to the tabloid report, Sashihara had reportedly dated a fan of hers from 2008 to 2009. The report also revealed several e-mails and photos that were allegedly sent by Sashihara.
Sashihara denied that she was in a relationship with the man, and said that the extent of their relationship were only as friends.
"When I was first asked about this, I didn't know what people were talking about. I was really surprised when I read the article. There were so many things in the article that weren't true, but I really was friends with him."
"I threw up my food over and over again. I hyperventilated during our tour. I couldn't even talk to my mom. Seeing my fans' comments on my blog really broke my heart. I am so sorry," she said.
Sashihara was going to be transferred after the birthday party of fellow member Matsubara Natsumi on 20 June, but AKB48 Theater manager Togasaki Tomonobu later delayed her performance to an undetermined date in July.