Japanese band Arashi call it quits next year?

TOKYO • Arashi, one of Japan's oldest and most popular boybands, will suspend activities at the end of next year.

At a press conference on Sunday, leader Satoshi Ohno, 38, said he first talked to his bandmates about the plan in June 2017.

"I want to live a life of freedom," he said.

He added that he would leave the limelight in 2021.

The other members said they have yet to decide on personal plans, but implied that they would not quit show business.

The other members - Masaki Aiba, Jun Matsumoto, Kazunari Ninomiya and Sho Sakurai - support Ohno's decision.

"It's tough if one person's views can decide the future of Arashi, but it is also not right to tie down the life of a person," said Sakurai, 37.

The group, which debuted in November 1999, will tour Japan to mark their 20th anniversary this year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2019, with the headline 'Japanese band Arashi call it quits next year?'. Print Edition | Subscribe