Japanese pop group SMAP pledge to continue as group
Kyodo -- Jan 19
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.

「何があっても、ただ前を見て進みたい」 SMAPがスマスマ生放送で、一連の解散・分裂騒動について謝罪し、グループ存続を表­明した。  

News source: Kyodo
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