Japanese actress gets jail for drug abuse

Japanese actress gets jail for drug abuse


The court handed down an 18-month jail term, suspended for three years, to 38-year-old Noriko Sakai who shot to fame in the late 1980s with pop songs and later turned to acting.
Prosecutors had demanded 18 months in prison. Sakai’s drug scandal has made headlines in Japan and in parts of Asia where she has many fans, since she and her husband, Yuichi Takaso, were arrested in August for possessing and using drugs.

“I miss the days when she made her debut and became a cute sensation. Now that she’s in this kind of situation, I’m in shock,” said Yoshiyuki Fujimoto, a 42-year-old computer programmer, who queued up for a courtroom seat.
Sakai was held in detention for nearly 40 days after her arrest before being released on 5 million yen ($55,500) bail.

Her trial has attracted intense media and public attention in a country with a very strict attitude towards drug use that stems, in part, from a spike in amphetamine abuse after World War II, when the drug was sold without prescription.

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