SMAP to disband on December 31st

One of Japan’s longest-running pop acts is set to disband at the end of the year. The agent for the all-male group SMAP made the announcement early on Sunday.

Johnny & Associates faxed a statement to the media, saying SMAP will disband on December 31st.

Reports surfaced in January that the 5-member group was on the verge of splitting. It was said that some of the members were considering leaving the agent.

But later, all 5 appeared on a live TV show to apologize. They promised to stay together.

SMAP has been a fixture on the Japanese pop scene for 25 years. Members have appeared on TV shows, in commercials and have performed as actors.

Johnny & Associates says the decision to break up was made after about half a year of talks with the members. It says all 5 will remain with the agent, and perform as solo acts from next year.

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