It has been announced that NEWS is now set to become a four member group as Yamashita Tomohisa and Nishikido Ryo are withdrawing from the group. The group will continue with the other four members, Koyama Keiichiro, Masuda Takahisa, Tegoshi Yuya and Kato Shigeaki.
Yamapi stated that he will be leaving to pursue a solo career. Ryo on the other hand has said his decision comes from the fact that he can no longer keep a schedule to include both Kanjani8 and NEWS activities and did not want to hold the group back because of this.
Yahoo! Japan News (Japanese)
To be completely honest this is something I have felt has been coming for a couple of years now. The slow down of releases from the group being the biggest indicator as well as Yamapi picking up his solo career and it doing well for him. Yet even so it's a big blow to me as a fan, especially as NEWS was what made me a Johnny's fan and it was with their comeback single Hoshi wo Mezashite, where they were cementing the fact they were six members, that made me a fan of them.
One thing I had predicted if something like this would happen that I'm glad I was wrong about was that the group would be disbanded. I am happy that it will continue but it's just so bittersweet right now.
The small bit of silver lining for me was that the remaining four are my favorite members of the group. It's not that I didn't like Yamapi and Ryo but the other four just interested me more. So if we get releases for this new four member NEWS I'll support them fully and I'll be happy if I can finally make my dream come true with the group as it is now and see NEWS in concert one day. It may not be the same but unless they completely change out all the members of the group or they disband to me NEWS continues on for me.
Expect me to post a lengthier post later about the news. It hasn't been an hour since I found out so this is all pretty much a knee-jerk reaction so after I get to thinking about it some more I'm sure I'll have more to say on the matter. I think I'm only now really beginning to feel the heart break from it.