Photo/IllutrationSouth Korea’s seven-member idol group BTS at the Lotte Hotel Seoul in May, 2017 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

SEOUL--K-pop boy band BTS has abandoned its plans to collaborate with high-profile Japanese songwriter and music producer Yasushi Akimoto, citing his impersonal treatment of female idols and use of the Hinomaru national flag as a stage prop.

The management office of the seven-member South Korean group announced on its official fan club website Sept. 16 that it will not release a new Japanese single “Bird,” whose lyrics Akimoto wrote, that is scheduled for release in Japan on Nov. 7, and replace it with another song.

Akimoto is the brains behind the hugely popular all-female idol group AKB48.

When BTS first announced its intention to collaborate with Akimoto as lyric writer of the new song, many BTS fans criticized the decision on social networking sites and other platforms.

"He uses girls as products (not as humans)” one fan wrote. Another accused him of being a "right-winger who uses the Rising Sun flag as a stage prop."

The BTS management office commented on its webpage Sept. 15, “We have already acknowledged the concerns expressed by BTS fans.”

The group's decision won online plaudits in South Korea.

“If the new song with Akimoto’s lyric was sold, we are not sure how much criticism BTS would have faced,” one individual wrote.

Another said, “I want the office to think about the direction which could send positive images from the next production, not just about the news hook.”