Sakai charged with drug possession

Compiled From Kyodo, Bloomberg

Prosecutors indicted actress and singer Noriko Sakai on Friday for alleged amphetamine possession, brushing aside concerns the case might fizzle because it is based on minute amounts of the illegal drug that were found in her home.

They also are expected to charge the 38-year-old celebrity with stimulant use.

Meanwhile, Tokyo-based Sun Music Production Inc., Sakai’s talent agency, announced later Friday that it has fired the singer.

“We apologize from the bottom of our hearts” for the alleged misdeeds of Sakai, said Masahisa Aizawa, the agency’s president.

The 0.008 gram of amphetamine seized from Sakai’s apartment is well below the 0.03-gram dose used by habitual users, leading some experts to question the indictment.

Prosecutors decided to go ahead after weighing the fact that the drugs were carefully wrapped in aluminum foil, and that Sakai said she “kept them to use them later,” investigative sources said.

A urine test conducted on Sakai after her arrest Aug. 8 came up negative, but traces of amphetamines were later detected in samples of her hair.

The former pop idol has told investigators she began using amphetamines at the encouragement of her husband, Yuichi Takaso, 41. She also said she fled to erase traces of amphetamines from her body after her husband was arrested for alleged amphetamine possession. Sakai disappeared early Aug. 3 and turned herself in five days later.

She stars in the Supreme Court’s promotional videos for the lay-judge system, and also was a guest at an event for the Drug Abuse Prevention Center in 1993.