Sakai arrested after turning up in Tokyo, admits to drug allegations

Kyodo News

Actress Noriko Sakai, who briefly disappeared in an apparent attempt to evade drug charges, turned up at a Tokyo police station Saturday night and was arrested on suspicion of possessing stimulants.

Sakai turned herself in at around 7:55 p.m. and admitted to the allegations, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Sakai had disappeared following Monday’s arrest of her husband, Yuichi Takaso, 41, for alleged possession of amphetamines.

The Tokyo police obtained an arrest warrant for the 38-year-old former pop idol Friday after finding a small quantity of drugs in her Tokyo apartment, where she lives separately from her husband. The Tokyo police asked Sakai through her lawyer to turn herself in.

Takaso, a self-proclaimed professional surfer, was arrested after a police officer found a plastic bag containing stimulants in his underwear in Tokyo’s Shibuya district.

Stimulants and drug paraphernalia were found in Sakai’s Minato Ward apartment, and a sample on it was found to match her DNA, the sources said.

Takaso was quoted as telling the police that the drugs in Sakai’s apartment were not his.

Sakai withdrew cash from an ATM in Tokyo and bought underwear and other items at a store in Shinjuku Ward shortly after disappearing following her husband’s arrest, they said.

The television personality, who is extremely popular in Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, is believed to have gone to Yamanashi Prefecture because signals from her mobile phone were picked up near the town of Minobu on Tuesday evening.

Tokyo police had sent investigators to Yamanashi to search for clues to her whereabouts.

The high-profile case involving the actress drew a strong antidrug response from Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, the government’s top spokesman.

“It is necessary to eliminate the root of an evil because it has been pointed out that drug use is widespread in the entertainment world,” Kawamura told a news conference in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture. “We need to tackle this issue so drug use will never spread among the youth.”

Meanwhile, it was learned Saturday that Sakai’s 30-year-old brother was indicted for using drugs last month in Fukuoka Prefecture. He was arrested July 17 after testing positive for drug use in a urine test, according to sources.

After her marriage in 1998 and the birth of her son in 1999, she appeared in commercials and re-created her image as a good mother in a happy family.

In 1993, Sakai appeared in an event promoting campaigns against drug abuse.