|Top row left to right: Juri, Taiga, Yuugo, Hokuto|
Bottom row left to right, Jesse, Shintaro
While this is mostly my own speculation but I think it makes a lot of sense for Johnny's to do that. After a glut of debuts in the past few years it looks like they are slowing things down. In fact with Sexy Zone being the FIVB supporters for this year it looks like we probably will not be getting a new group to debut with that like usual. Unless they plan on creating something out the the Juniors that make up the Sexy Family grouping that also looks to be a part of it. But even that aside it has been years without a strong Junior group for the agency to line up for eventually debut.
Of course it is not like there are no other Junior groups but Johnny's support of those that are still around like Snow Man and Travis Japan has been rather weak. Trying to ramp things up for a debut for them now does not seem like the way they want to go or they would be pushing them more now. And with Snow Man I fear they ended up with bad timing as they had the two most popular members of their group taken out and are at the ages where debut looks difficult. Though at least they have Takizawa Hideaki supporting them, but even that can go so far if the group is not able to expand their presence elsewhere. While Travis Japan is still rather new and it looks like Johnny's is using that to their advantage to take popular members from the group for other projects if they see fit.
6tones though I feel can go the distance and get a good push to a debut in a couple years time. The members of the group have had various individual work, like drama and stage roles, and did still get concerts with the grouping as headliners for Junior concerts, in fact it was at one of those concerts that this announcement was made. Of course they need to be seen more as a group to really get a good following behind them. But they have a head start with the fact that they have kept fans for their grouping over the years. Not to mention that they have all had plenty of time in the agency to get strong individual fan followings, especially as at least half the group have had strong pushes in the past.
Of course if they end up debuting as a group like KAT-TUN and Kis-My-Ft2 before them I am certain it will at least be about two more years before that. One thing that all recent Junior group debuts have had in common is that as older debut groups all the members have been 20 years old or older, so 6tones will have to wait for Shintaro to turn 20 in about two years. So I would guess a 2017 or 2018 debut for the group if it happens.
And it may be for the best as by then I doubt many will recall Morimoto Ryutaro (sadly enough) or at least not in a meaningful way outside of once being in Johnny's and being Shintaro's older brother. And also the scandal surrounding Tanaka Koki hopefully will have died down enough not to be much of a shadow over Juri. (Maybe this will mean Juri will no longer be forced into the "rapper" role, which would personally make me happy.)
Before then there needs to be more signs that Johnny's is serious about this group by promoting them fully. Like having them perform on Shounen Club regularly (with original group songs), and keeping members active with both group and individual work especially getting drama roles. Since Shintaro will be graduating from high school in the coming year, and he's going to Horikoshi anyway, everyone should have rather free schedules, as those attending university still will have more flexible schedules than they did as high school students.
I really do think this group has potential to have a strong debut, I have since they were first grouped together as the Bakaleya6. But the agency has to make sure they pave the road towards it or 6tones will be with the rest of the current Junior groups, mostly neglected.