National / Crime & Legal

Actor-musician Pierre Taki of techno-pop duo Denki Groove pleads guilty to using cocaine

JIJI, Kyodo

Musician and actor Pierre Taki pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of using cocaine in violation of the narcotics control law.

Taki, 52, whose real name is Masanori Taki, attended the opening session of his trial at Tokyo District Court.

The prosecution sought an 18-month prison sentence. The trial was concluded within the day, and the verdict is due to be announced on June 18.

Taki is accused of using a small amount of cocaine at his home in Tokyo on or around March 12. He told investigators that he began using cocaine while he was in his 20s and continued using it to relieve stress from his busy work life, according to investigative sources.

His defense team requested a suspended sentence.

“I was not strong-minded enough (to resist the urge to use the drug). I apologize for causing trouble to many people,” Taki, dressed in a black suit, said in the courtroom packed with reporters and other people. “I will keep my hands off drugs.”

His detention in March sent shock waves through the entertainment industry, which has seen several drug-related arrests recently.

Taki is also known as the Japanese voice of snowman Olaf in the hit Disney anime movie “Frozen” and has appeared in numerous films and dramas, including public broadcaster NHK’s major drama series “Idaten.” NHK has replaced him with a different actor.

His techno-pop duo, Denki Groove, which was formed in 1989, was also popular and put on concert tours both inside and outside Japan.

According to officials, 1,266 people lined up for the 21 available tickets for the court gallery seats from which observers could watch the session.