Ririka Suto has officially announced that she will be leaving NMB48.
The idol held an interview with Nikkan Sports on June 22 to address the revelations of her secret relationship and impending marriage.
As previously reported by tabloid magazine Shuukan Bunshun, Suto met her now fiance, referred to as Mr. A, in November 2015 at the restaurant her mom works during a party. She denies claims that he was a fan, but did share that she knew she liked him when they first met.
According to the magazine, Mr. A is a man in his 20s who works in the medical field. Suto did not comment on details about the man's identity, stating only that he is a non-celebrity.
Suto's schedule often had her in Osaka while Mr. A was in Tokyo. The two had a long distance relationship for a large portion of their relationship, but when they did meet, they were careful not to be with each other outside to keep the relationship a secret from the public.
As their relationship developed over the course of more than a year, it became apparent that they wanted to be together forever. Mr. A proposed to Suto at the beginning of the year.
Although they are engaged, the two are not in a rush to officially get married. A date for their marriage has not been set.
Suto went on the record to say that she is not pregnant, dispelling any rumors that she was entering into a shotgun wedding.
The idol had been criticized for announcing her impending marriage at AKB48's 9th annual Senbatsu General Election. Suto explained that she knew that Shuukan Bunshun was going to report on her relationship in its latest issue, and wanted to announce the marriage herself instead of having it come out in a tabloid.
Despite popular belief that Suto would be forced to leave the group, the idol shared that that was not the case. Suto was offered to stay with the group despite her relationship, but ultimately decided that she wants to graduate.
When she leaves NMB48, Suto hopes to go to school and get a degree in philosophy. She will also be continuing to work in the entertainment industry as a talent rather than an idol.