At the press conference on the group’s split, Ono shared that his decision to leave Arashi was due to the desire to have the freedom to do what he wants. While he doesn’t exactly know what he really wants to do now, several times when he’s out fishing or just spending time drawing, the thought that he has to return to work the next day is constantly in his mind. Given the popularity of the group, it’s not hard to imagine how this can be suffocating.
Ono also shared that he began thinking about leaving 3 years ago and the feeling just grew stronger each year, before he discussed with the members and then the agency in February of 2018 and decided in June the same year. It appears that his ideal situation is to take a break once every 3 years but that is too selfish of him, that was why he arrived at the decision to quit.
When asked if he will continue with solo activities, Ono confirmed that he will not work for a while from 2021 but doesn’t know as yet, how long this break will be for. The press conference also confirmed Arashi will not be disbanding but just go their separate ways for an indefinite period of time.
Other members also shared their plans after 2020 with Aiba Masaki saying that he has no intention to take a break. Matsumoto Jun says he has no concrete plans as yet either but will continue to look for new challenges. Sakurai Sho and Ninomiya Kazunari also both said they’ve never thought about what happens thereafter and will focus on their last 2 years of activities as Arashi.
As for their TV programs, decisions will be made after discussing with program staff as that hasn’t been carried out yet.
I’ve never been a fan of the group and know many of their songs because friends who are fans keep singing them at karaoke sessions, but to be honest, when one of the reporters asked if it is irresponsible of them to announce it like that, I was like “???” Because this is one of the most responsible and cleanest break for a group I’ve seen this last 10 years. At the very least, Ono didn’t get brainwashed into leaving =\
In any case, regardless of its factuality, the way the break was announced at least cleared the suspicion that it has anything to do with Tackey’s appointment as CEO to new Johnny’s subsidiary, Johnny’s Island. I’ll update more if there’s more to it than meets the eye. Otherwise, I do think this is a very responsible manner in which the decision to go on a break is announced.