• Kyodo


Actress Erika Sawajiri pleaded guilty Friday to possession of MDMA and LSD in the first hearing of her trial at the Tokyo District Court.

Prosecutors sought an 18-month prison term for the 33-year-old, who was arrested in November over drug possession at her home in Tokyo, while defense lawyers asked for a suspended sentence. The court is due to hand down a ruling next Thursday.

“I don’t plan to return as an actress,” Sawajiri said after offering an apology. Her arrest shocked the entertainment industry and led to a delay in the start of a yearlong period drama series in which she was scheduled to appear.

A total of 2,229 people gathered at Hibiya Park, located near the district court, for the 19 public gallery seats available in the courtroom.

“There are many other celebrities besides Sawajiri who are socially influential and have been embroiled in drugs,” said a 65-year-old man who went to the park seeking access to the courtroom. “All of society should address this issue because individual resolve isn’t enough.”

A 21-year-old woman who also went to the park said, “I thought she was a cool actress who had talent, so this incident is a shame.”

According to the indictment, Sawajiri was in possession of 0.19 grams of powder containing MDMA, 0.6 grams of liquid containing LSD, and a 0.08-gram piece of paper laced with LSD at her home in Tokyo on Nov. 16.

She has also admitted to using marijuana, LSD, cocaine and MDMA, according to investigative sources.

Sawajiri was released on ¥5 million ($45,850) bail in December. Her management company said she has been in a medical facility for treatment.

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