Nogizaka46 members Higuchi Hina and Wada Maaya have announced their graduation from the group.
On her official blog, Higuchi explained, "It's because 'I wanted to make a willing choice.'" She continued, "Rather than being done with a set goal, I felt it was more important to take a step forward now when I have the energy to keep going. My decision to graduate from the group is not a goal that I vaguely decided, but a choice to move on. I want to build my life based on willing choices."
Similarly, Wada commented, "There were many times I wanted to quit. But coming this far, what I feel is... Thank you everyone! I did my best! I've done it! It was fun! That's what I felt, so I made the decision to graduate."
Higuchi and Wada will graduate after concluding all activities related to the group's 30th single (currently untitled) that's slated for release on August 31. The date of their graduation concert will be announced later.
The two passed Nogizaka46's first generation audition in 2011 and have been central figures of the group for the past 11 years.