Sakai gets 18 months for drugs

Japanese star example of increased celebrity enforcement

TOKYO – Fallen idol Noriko “Noripi” Sakai received a suspended sentence of 18 months for drug use at Tokyo District Court on Monday.
 
Following the arrest of her husband on charges of methamphetamines, Sakai went on the run – believed to be a ploy to buy enough time for traces of the drug to leave her system – sparking saturation media coverage of the case.
 
A police search of her apartment uncovered drug paraphernalia and 0.008gms of “stimulant drugs,” according to prosecutors.
 
Sakai, whose popularity as an actress and singer extended to Taiwan and China, confessed and tearfully repented in standard celebrity fashion.
 
More than 3,000 people lined up for 20 gallery seats at the court, though this was less than half the number that showed up for the opening day of her trial last month.
 
During the exhaustive coverage of the case, it emerged that Noripi’s father was a minor Yakuza gang boss, and that her brother was recently also convicted of drug use. Whether the media decides that her tough upbringing will allow her to be forgiven and rehabilitated into showbiz, or that she is beyond redemption, remains to be seen.
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