National / Crime & Legal

Ex-actress Takagi denies marijuana possession at trial


Former actress Saya Takagi denied marijuana possession Monday at the first hearing of her trial at the Naha District Court in Okinawa Prefecture.

Takagi, 53, had advocated for the legalization of medical marijuana in her failed campaign for an Upper House seat in last July’s election. She was arrested in October and indicted in November for allegedly possessing about 55 grams of marijuana at her home on Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, in conspiracy with her housemates.

“It’s not mine,” Takagi told the court.

She told the court that her occupation is operator of an accommodation. Takagi was running a guesthouse business on the island at the time of her arrest.

She also told the court that while she had used marijuana, the quantity of the drug that was seized did not belong to her. She has not been charged with using the drug.

Shigenari Moriyama, 58, one of her housemates indicted as an accomplice, said at the same hearing that all of the marijuana in question was his. His defense said they will dispute the amount in his possession.

Takagi said she used Moriyama’s marijuana four to five times a month with his permission to ease pain after having a wisdom tooth removed.

Prosecutors said in their opening statement that Moriyama asked Takagi for permission to bring marijuana to their residence and to use the drugs when they began living together around 2013, and that the former actress granted his request.

Prosecutors said Takagi was sympathetic toward Moriyama’s marijuana legalization activities.

Takagi, originally from Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, debuted as an actress in 1982. Her real name is Ikue Masudo, and she has been active as an environmentalist in recent years.

In July’s election, she unsuccessfully ran for a seat in Tokyo as a candidate for Shinto Kaikaku (New Renaissance Party), pledging to work on legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes if elected.

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