Talent agency Johnny & Associates announced on Sunday evening via fax that it will end its management contract with three former members of the popular idol group SMAP — Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, and Shingo Katori — on September 8. The three former members will then leave the talent agency. The announcement stated that the agency made the decision at the request of the three former members. A Johnny & Associates official said regarding the activities of the three former members after leaving the agency, “They are expected to make announcements as soon as the details are determined.”
The other two former members, Takuya Kimura and Masahiro Nakai, will remain with the agency and continue their contracts.
Johnny & Associates announced in August that SMAP would break up on December 31, after a career spanning over a quarter century. The talent agency had said at the time that the five members would remain with Johnny & Associates going forward, but would focus on their solo careers starting this year.
Newspapers had reported in January 2016 that Nakai, Kusanagi, Inagaki, and Katori had been in talks to leave Johnny & Associates, with only Kimura staying with the agency. However, this