Some key excerpts:
Following the Uchouten LOVE Live Event on August 27th at Higashi Betsuin Hall in Nagoya, Ogawa Saki will be graduating from S/mileage and Hello! Project.
Early in May this yearHe also says,
“Earlier, I have been contemplated and consolidated with staffs, about returning to being a normal middle school student. I feel very strongly about this, please let me quit.”
she has made this request.
Even as a producer, it’s not in the best interest of the group and members to continue to force a member in doubt to endure more group activities, therefore Ogawa’s request has been accepted.
It was officially announced at first that this unit’s member might increase or decrease,
it was due this is reason that an urgent S/mileage member audition was held in June this year.
Due to various conditions of the group, herself and other parties involved, as well as terms and conditions on contract, it was not until today that this information and her will can be reported, please accept my apologizes.
From Saki herself,
However, somewhere down in my heart, I felt there was a gap between myself and the S/mileage me. I have talked it over with the staff many times and have been constantly worrying about it, and with everyone working their hardest to move forward and myself still uncertain of things, I decided that it was not in the best interest of S/mileage and I will return to being just a normal girl.
Huge thanks Takamaruyo (formerly Hyakupa) for the very quick translation. Visit their blog to read the full thing.
This makes the news a lot more bearable and answers most of my questions that I originally had, though I'm still wondering what sort of term in a contract calls for a sudden announcement like this.
I'm just bitter that Saki won't get an elaborate graduation ceremony like (almost) all other members who have left on their own volition. She was a great Hello! Project member, an underrated singer and overall talent and she will be hard to replace. Good luck S/mileage second gen.
And, if Tsunku's statement is to be believed, then the auditions were as a reaction to Saki's impending graduation and not the other way around. Interesting.