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
Sep 22
A 31-year-old Filipino on an international wanted list for suspected involvement in a 2004 rape and murder in baraki Prefecture on Thursday admitted his guilt to Kyodo News. (Japan Today)
Sep 21
Emperor Akihito on Wednesday visited a shrine dedicated to ancient Korean settlers in Hidaka, Saitama Prefecture. (Japan Today)
Sep 21
Popular Japanese singer Namie Amuro has announced that she will retire next September. (NHK)
Sep 20
The estranged wife of a former violin maker broke into his house and destroyed 54 violins and 70 bows after they fought over payments for child support, prosecutors said Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Sep 20
Okinawa police say most of a group of teenagers arrested for vandalizing a site of mass suicide during World War Two say they were playing a prank without knowing the site's historic significance. (NHK)
Sep 20
Fears about foreign crime caused Tokyo Metropolitan Police to conduct searches through sex parlors in the Roppongi entertainment last week, an initiative that is part of law enforcement’s preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games, reports TV Asahi (tokyoreporter.com)
Sep 20
A work by 15th-century ink wash painter Sesshu that had been missing for 84 years has been found. (NHK)
Sep 20
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 32-year-old man after a fire at a government-run apartment in Edogawa Ward on Monday resulted in injuries to himself and one other person, reports NHK (tokyoreporter.com)
Sep 18
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a middle school counselor for allegedly having sex with a middle school student after promising a cash payment, reports TV Asahi (tokyoreporter.com)
Sep 17
Prosecutors in Ogori, Fukuoka Prefecture, plan to charge a policeman -- already indicted for murdering his wife in June -- with the murder of their two children. (Japan Today)