Oshio 1 1/2-year term suspended for five

by Setsuko Kamiya

Former actor and singer Manabu Oshio was sentenced Monday to a suspended 18-month prison term by the Tokyo District Court for using the illegal synthetic drug MDMA in August in an apartment where a woman was found dead.

Although a suspended term is common for drug convictions, a five-year suspension, which Oshio received, is longer than usual.

Presiding Judge Osamu Iguchi ruled that Oshio had taken the drug popularly known as Ecstasy on Aug. 2 in an apartment in the Roppongi district.

Oshio, 31, had owned up to the charges and promised to never take illegal drugs again. But the court extended the suspension, which is effectively probation, saying Oshio had not prepared an environment to break off completely from narcotics.

The court also said Oshio’s testimony regarding how he took the MDMA lacked credibility.

During his one-day trial Oct. 23, Oshio admitted taking the drugs with a woman who died, apparently from an overdose. He testified that it was the woman who brought and offered the drugs to him.

He also admitted using MDMA on several occasions in the United States in the past two years. Prosecutors thus questioned the credibility of his testimony and pointed out that he may have been the one who provided the drugs.

Oshio’s attorneys said there were no illegal drugs discovered in his belongings seized by authorities.

It was initially reported that Oshio failed to call an ambulance when he noticed something was wrong with the woman after she took the drugs. It was also reported that his manager made an emergency call nearly three hours after the actor noticed there was something wrong with the woman before she died.

The woman’s death was not raised during the trial, but Oshio has confirmed that authorities had visited him for voluntary interviews regarding her death.

Oshio’s case is one of three recent high-profile drug trials involving celebrities.

Last week, actress Noriko Sakai pleaded guilty at the Tokyo District Court to possessing and using drugs. Her husband, Yuichi Takaso, also pleaded guilty in a separate trial. Both incriminated each other in their testimony.

Their verdicts are scheduled for later this month.