Comedian avoids prison time for drug use

The Tokyo District Court on Monday sentenced TV comedian Masashi Tashiro to two years in prison, suspended for three years, for illegal drug use and other offenses.

Tashiro, 45, had pleaded guilty to possessing 0.4 gram of amphetamines and inhaling the drug on Dec. 4 in his home in Ota Ward.

Judge Masazo Ogura said Tashiro, initially arrested in his second Peeping Tom offense, had turned to drugs to escape stress caused by concerns about his appearance and his show’s ratings.

The judge indicated he was given a suspended term because he has been repentant and was detained almost two months after his arrest.

Prosecutors had demanded a 30-month prison term.

The amphetamines were found Dec. 12 during a police search of Tashiro’s home following his arrest on the night of Dec. 9 for allegedly peeping into a neighbor’s bathroom.

The prosecutors suspended his indictment on the peeping charge because of the more serious charge of stimulant use and possession.

He was fined 50,000 yen in December 2000 for filming up women’s skirts at a train station in Meguro Ward.