Major discount store chain operator Don Quijote Co. filed a ¥5 billion (S$62 million) damages suit against the management company of AKB48 and a pachinko machine manufacturer with the Tokyo District Court, claiming that an agreement on an exclusive right to sell commodities related to the pop idol group has been ignored, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The defendants indicated they will dispute the case during the first oral proceeding on Thursday.
According to Don Quijote's complaint, the company has been supporting the all-girls group in various ways since its debut in 2005, such as renting the eighth floor of its store in the Akihabara district in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, for the AKB48 Theater.
In 2009, Don Quijote and AKs, the managemen firm, concluded an agreement on exclusive sales rights of AKB48-related products.
The discount retailer argues it suffered more than ¥10 billion in losses since the pachinko machine manufacturer, which became a major shareholder of the management firm, began selling pachinko machines and other products featuring members of AKB48 since 2012 without the consent of Don Quijote.