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Pop star Aska gets off with suspended sentence for drug use

by Tomohiro Osaki

Staff Writer

The Tokyo District Court on Friday handed Shigeaki Miyazaki, the pop star known as Aska, a suspended three-year prison term for possession and use of stimulants, noting that he had shown contrition and committed himself to rehabilitation.

Presiding Judge Mikio Uemura said the singer’s crimes were grave and said the frequency with which he indulged in illegal stimulants, including euphoria-inducing MDMA, suggests his addiction is “highly habitual” and “serious.”

Uemura also acknowledged that Miyazaki, 56, was truly repentant, had shown a willingness to commit himself to rehabilitation and pleaded guilty to all charges. He also said the intense media coverage sparked by his fame served as punishment in itself.

His term was suspended for four years.

“You’ve betrayed your family and all the people who have supported you, by committing crimes,” Uemura said after handing down the sentence, addressing Miyazaki directly. “I insist you take some time to think about what it means to live with others in society, which will be the first step for you to make up with those who you’ve betrayed.”

Miyazaki apologized in a written statement after his sentencing.

“I will take this ruling seriously and become a decent, healthy human being again with the help of my family,” the statement said.

Half of popular pop duo Chage and Aska, Miyazaki broke the Stimulant Drug Control Law and the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Law.

During the first session of his trial last month, Miyazaki said his use of stimulants dated back to the summer of 2010. He said he had been addicted to them on and off until his arrest in May. He also admitted to purchasing 100 pills of MDMA in March.

Kasumi Tochinai, 37, Miyazaki’s mistress of six years, was also arrested in May. She tested positive for illegal stimulants shortly after her arrest but has pleaded not guilty to the drug charges, alleging that the singer must have slipped her drugs without her knowledge.

During the August trial, the star admitted he still had feelings for Tochinai, who he described as an “important person.” That confession came shortly after a letter from his wife, who pledged to help with his rehabilitation every step of the way, was read aloud by his lawyer in court.