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“No Return to Showbiz,” Voiced to Noriko Sakai

9, 17. 2009

   Indicted on August 28 for the violation of Stimulants Control Act, actress and singer Noriko Sakai has allegedly used the illegal drugs time after time until her attempt to escape from her arrest, according to the investigation. People in the entertainment industry criticized Sakai, a mother of a 10-year-old son, and voiced to stop her returning to the industry.

Changing Statement So Frequently

   Sakai confessed to investigators, "I ran away because I felt at risk. I had used illegal stimulants 4 days before the arrest of my husband," according to the news report. Her 6-day escape trip was suspected to prolong the time and destroy evidence of any drug use.

   Sakai and her husband, 41-year old Yuichi Takaso also indicted for usage and possession of illegal drugs, visited Amami Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture in July this year to see solar eclipse. They stayed in Amami until July 30, 4 years before Takaso's arrest. According to his confession, he got the stimulants in Amami, and while his son was out with either of his parents, the rest stayed at the hotel and used the stimulants. It is reported that Sakai might have used it around July 23 as well.

   Sakai stated that she had first used drugs a year ago, and since then only several times. But her statement differs from Takaso's as he said Sakai's drug use had started before that. Since the beginning of investigation, Sakai has changed her statement frequently.

   Takaso also said, "My wife and I used illegal drugs" during their stay in their vacation house in Katsuura in Chiba Prefecture between August 1 and 2. Although Sakai did not admit it, she will be under investigation on this accusation.

Did Takaso Say, "Don't Overuse" to Sakai?

   While there are many discrepancies between their statements, it seems that the couple has been trying to push the responsibility to each other. Takaso claimed that he has warned Sakai not to overuse the drugs, but she did not listen. Sakai, however, overturned and said that her drug use was encouraged by Takaso. It is hard to imagine this kind of conversation would take place in court by them.

   According to an article in Sports Nippon on September 2 2009, Emeritus professor and specialist in criminal law, Hiroshi Itakura of Nihon University, said that the charge would get more serious if the additional indictment against Sakai was multiple drug use instead of single use in her own premise. Itakura predicts that she might be sentenced to 2 years in prison with probation between 3 and 5 years because she is a first-time offender.

   The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office filed an additional indictment against Sakai on September 11 for drug use in Amami Oshima around July 30. Also, the Metropolitan Police Department forwarded additional documents accusing her drug use at her home in Tokyo on July 5, but she has not been charged on this case as of September 16.

   If Sakai is allowed for probation, she could be released on bail and not needing to go to prison. In fact, she has requested to the Tokyo District Court to release her on bail through her lawyer on September 14. Regardless whether Sakai will be in jail or free, will she be able to return to showbiz?

   An executive of major entertainment agency has expressed harsh opinion saying, "I think one must not let Sakai come back because she has to take responsibility (for drug use) although there are several precedents. She is a failure as a person to a point that she does not think about her son. If she returns to the entertainment industry so easily, it is a shame on showbiz, and that is why we cannot let this happen. I don't think her management office, Sun Music, will allow her to come back while the office would take care of her privately. TV station should not allow her to cast for any program. Sakai should find different job."

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