AKB48 founder and producer Yasushi Akimoto announced the formation of the Niigata-based idol group NGT48 at the “AKB48 Request Hour Set List Best 1035″ event in Tokyo on Sunday. His aim in creating another local group, he says, is to ultimately form an idol group called “Japan48” by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Japan48 will draw its members from each of the local “48 groups.”

NGT48 will be the fifth 48 group after AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, and HKT48. Starting member auditions for the group will begin in March, and the group will debut in October.

On why he chose Niigata, Akimoto said that AKB48, SKE48, and NMB48 are all based on the Pacific Ocean side of Japan’s largest island Honshu, but there was no group on the Sea of Japan side, where Niigata is the largest city.

Akimoto is also looking at other large Japanese cities, such as Sapporo, Sendai, and Okinawa. He hopes to form groups in these locations before the 2020 Olympics.

In addition, Akimoto is progressing in his plans to form a group based in Manila in the Philippines. Jakata, Indonesia and Shanghai, China already host the international 48 groups JKT48 and SNH48, respectively.

Source: Yahoo! Japan via 0takomu
Featured image: Flickr (kndynt2099)

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