SMAP, one of the most popular and longest-lived Japanese pop groups, pledged to continue as a group Monday, days after media reports that they were on the verge of breaking up, as grieving of fans in Japan and other Asian countries apparently moved them.
At the outset of their TV variety show "SMAP X SMAP," the five members appeared live, standing in a line and wearing black suits. After apologizing to fans for causing anxiety, they said they learned anew how much they are supported by fans and said they will strive to go forward together no matter what from now on. Sources at their management agency said SMAP will continue to exist.
Takuya Kimura, at center, said that "SMAP has given many people much worries and trouble since last week" when the reports emerged. "I thought the situation, if left unattended, might lead to a midair breakup of SMAP," said the 43-year-old member, who apparently worked to prevent the four other members from quitting their agency.
Fukuoka Prefectural Police are investigating a 29-year-old female sex worker already in custody for attempted murder in a separate case in which an acquaintance fell to her death from a bridge, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
A Japanese man was arrested Wednesday in Thailand on suspicion of raping and sexually harassing a number boys aged between 13 and 15 in the country's northern province of Chiang Mai, investigators said. (Japan Times)
A panel of Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department came up with a report on Wednesday calling for legal regulations on the so-called JK business, in which high school girls offer such services as massage and dating. (Jiji Press)