In a surprise statement, Exile Atsushi has announced that he will be leaving EXILE until 2018.
The singer stated that he intends to spend his hiatus overseas in an effort to improve his vocal abilities, having been thinking about this for a number of years now, and he was particularly motivated after the departures of original EXILE group members Hiro, Matsu, USA, and Makidai.
Atsushi noted that after playing with many talented musicians and taking influence from the R&B and dance sound from the US, he was inspired to study music more by going back to the basics, all while improving his English.
And finally, while fans may be sad at his temporary departure, Atsushi believes that his planned musical break will in turn help EXILE become a world class group.
During Atsushi's hiatus, EXILE will be limiting their activities, but before that happens, fans look forward to the group's upcoming 15th anniversary album "EXTREME BEST" which is scheduled for release on September 27.
Source: EXILE Official Website