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Japanese girl group AKB48 dragged into Olympic protest

Japanese girl group AKB48 dragged into Olympic protest
AKB48 includes dozens of members who perform regularly in Japan and internationally. The group has sold millions of records. (Toshifumi Kitamura / AFP)

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are still a long way off, but not too distant to fuel continuing controversy.

From the start critics raised concerns about lingering radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Now comes a different sort of complaint.

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The organizing committee, which initially lacked female members, has added music producer Yasushi Akimoto.

Akimoto created the girl group AKB48, which features scantily clad young women ranging in age from teens to mid-20s singing often suggestive lyrics.

An Internet petition has been launched seeking to have him dismissed (link in Japanese).

AKB48 includes dozens of members who perform regularly at an Akihabara theater and tour internationally. The group has sold millions of records.

On AKB48's website, Akimoto said he wanted to create "idols you can meet every day."

More than 11,000 people had signed the petition as of Thursday.

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