• Kyodo


Tomoya Nagase will leave the all-male pop group Tokio in March, its talent agency said Wednesday, marking the departure of yet another member of its original group of five.

The 41-year-old is leaving to “work behind-the-scenes to create a new type of job from scratch,” Johnny & Associates Inc. said in a statement.

Tokio made its debut in 1994 with five members but dropped to four after the company terminated the contract of Tatsuya Yamaguchi, 48, for forcibly kissing a high school student at his home in 2018.

Even after the scandal, the remaining members had been serving as ambassadors to promote the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Following Nagase’s departure next year, the remaining three — leader Shigeru Joshima, 49, Taichi Kokubun, 45, and 43-year-old Masahiro Matsuoka — will establish a new company in April under the name “Tokio” that will operate in affiliation with the agency.

Tokio remains an active force on the music scene, perform concerts live and on television, especially in variety shows.

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