Takahashi Ai, current Morning Musume leader and admittedly a Maki fangirl, was caught off guard by the sudden news of Maki's hiatus at a BS-TBS / Android press conference. When asked about Maki's announcement she said she "didn't know" about it and quickly left the room. Whether she is or isn't allowed to speak about it remains unclear.
Fujimoto Miki commented first at a Match.com press conference, later on her blog that "The news surprised me. Maki, Aya and I have been very close since the Gomattou days, but I still have to talk to her about this", adding that "I understand her feelings. I filled my life with marriage. I'm sure she'll find her thing".
Suzuki Ami, who met Maki during the ASAYAN auditions over a decade ago and have since become close friends, commented on her Twitter that "Fans will surely be shocked but I understand Maki. Working since a young age, she deserves all the happiness. I want to see her grow up as a beautiful lady".
An insider said "Avex desperately tried to persuade her not to go on hiatus, but Maki's retirement will is strong. Her lost will be a heavy blow for the company". Another producer stated that "It has nothing to do with the sales. Avex has other artists selling around 10K and they are still under contract. They really care about Maki". Several co-workers who know Maki well coincide that "It's her will. She has yet to overcome her mother's death. She needs the break".
In July details will be revealed on single, album and tour prior to her indefinite hiatus starting January 2012.
Sources 1, 2, 3, 4