Photo/IllutrationThree former SMAP mates, from left: Shingo Katori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Goro Inagaki, acknowledge the cheers of the fans at a venue of the Para-Ekiden in Tokyo 2018 relay race in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward on March 4. (Wataru Sekita)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

As about 17,000 spectators clapped enthusiastically at a venue in Tokyo, three former members of the hugely popular male idol group SMAP sang their new song on March 4.

The performance, however, was not a mini-SMAP reunion, but an occasion for the three to unveil their new charity song to cheer on parasports athletes.

The audience listened entranced by the song titled “Ameagari no Step” (Step after the rain) at a venue of the Para-Ekiden in Tokyo 2018 relay race in Setagaya Ward.

“We want to do something that makes us stay close to para-athletes and volunteers with a better understanding about their circumstances,” Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, 43, said to reporters after the closing ceremony of the event.

Kusanagi has served as a special supporter of the Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center, an organizer of the event, along with Goro Inagaki, 44, and Shingo Katori, 41, since Nov. 15. The five-member SMAP group disbanded at the end of 2016.

The new song will be available for 250 yen ($2.37), including tax, from the iTunes Store from March 19.

All the proceeds from sales through June 30 will be donated to support parasports through the center.