The storm has subsided. The locusts have moved on. The Minegishi video is being taken down, according to a new posting from AKB48 general manager Tomonobu Togasaki. But not for the reasons one may have expected. This resolution is one that rings hollow at best.
Over the last day-and-a-bit, international reaction to the video grew to a level where there was a netwide campaign to flag the video and have it taken off YouTube. I don’t know how many flags it takes to set off the alarms in YouTubeland, but if a rageful Tumblr post with several thousand notes says anything, then AKB48′s webguys probably found themselves with a pretty big pile of Notifications in the morning.
HOWEVER, read the translated message carefully. According to Togasaki’s statement, “I have received many requests from the fans saying ‘We have fully understood Miichan’s sincerity, and so we would like for the video on YouTube to be taken down.’” It’s as if he doesn’t even realize how angry people were—including much of the Japanese public, who said “That’s just going too far”—or has blinded himself to it and is responding with a canned, cold statement.
Basically, sorry AKB’s not sorry.