In a statement (English translation) originally released on the official Hello! Project website, UP-FRONT PROMOTION (UFP) has terminated the contract of Kobushi Factory member Rio Fuji, effective immediately. She is said to have violated company rules, but no details regarding the violations have been released. This comes shortly after UFP and Fuji released statements announcing her graduation from both Kobushi Factory and H!P following the conclusion of the H!P Summer Tour in September. It is said that UFP tried to resolve the rules violation situation with Fuji, but were unable to reach a suitable resolution, and therefore decided to terminate her contract outright.
Kobushi Factory leader Ayaka Hirose spoke about the situation on her blog:
Just as was announced on the Hello!Project Official Site today, the contract of Kobushi Factory member Fujii Rio has been terminated.
I believe that this sudden announcement must have all of you in disarray, and I am truly sorry to have a member be removed in such a way. Honestly, we too are really frustrated.
Essentially, Fujii was slated to graduate in about 2 months, on the 2nd of September. After having set on her graduation, spending what precious little remaining time the 8 of us had without any regrets is something that I guess we’ll no longer be able to do.
Kobushi Factory will continue as a seven-member unit moving forward from today.