On December 22, Ohta Production announced via their official website that actress Maeda Atsuko's contract will expire on December 31. According to persons concerned, she will not be signing with another agency, but will go completely independent.
Ohta Production wrote, "At this time, we would like to announce that Maeda Atsuko's contract with our company will be expiring on December 31, 2020. From now on, she will carry out her activities as a freelance actor." They added, "While she will no longer belong to our company, we plan to continue supporting her as much as we can. Please continue to support Maeda Atsuko."
Similarly Maeda released a statement, saying, "I would like to announce that I, Maeda Atsuko, will be completing my contract with Ohta Production, whom I have been indebted to for 14 years, on December 31, 2020. I only have grateful words for everyone at Ohta Production for raising me this far although I am awkward. As I will be turning 30 next year, I thought about my future and felt that I have to become more reliable. So I decided to take the step out of the environment, which I had been depending on this whole time."
She continued, "I am receiving various offers including work overseas and fashion-related work, but nothing concrete has been set. Will I really be able to do those things? I hope to take things one at a time with a pace that matches my abilities."
Maeda also expressed, "I will do my best as an actor in order to repay Ohta Production who always kindly accepted and understood my selfish wishes." Finally, she said, "While I am anxious about a lot of things, I am also excited just like the time I graduated from AKB48. It would make me happy if you would continue to support me."