maedayuukaS/mileage’s Maeda Yuuka (16) has announced she will retire from the entertainment industry to focus on school and prepare for college entrance exams.

Maeda is a founding member of S/mileage and joined when she was 14 back in April 2009. She commented on her announcement,

“Since becoming a high school student, I have been unable to keep up with both my S/mileage work and school at the same time. It has bothered me a great deal and I when started to think about my future I realized that my desire to attend a university had grown a lot over time. I wondered if I could be able to handle both school work and S/mileage but really I was only able to give a half-hearted effort on both things.

I need to work a lot harder if I want to attend a university. But that had always been just talk and until now nothing had really changed. I’ve put a lot of thought into this and some may think its not the best option, I feel its correct for me [to step away from the entertainment industry].

I am very grateful to so many people, and hope to really enjoy these remaining 2 months, and finish with a smile in the S/mileage way!

Please continue to support S/mileage from here on after.”

Hello!Project producer, Tsunku added, “Though Maeda could have juggled career & school, she is the type of a girl who wants to put all of her full effort into one thing.”

Maeda will participate fully with the promotional activities for their upcoming single “Please Mini-skirt Post Woman!” which will be released on December 28th. Her final performance will be on December 31st during the annual New Year’s Eve music show NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen

Source: sanspo & Hello!Project & hello Sayunii