Akamatsu Naoki (25), formerly leader of the pop group Hysteric Blue, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. After the band broke up, his wife became pregnant and he felt he had no release for his sexual urges. As a result, between the end of 2003 and early 2004, he raped and sexually assaulted as many as nine women. Prosecutors sought an 18-year jail sentence.
• Miyara Shinobu (25) of the pop group Da Pump has been arrested for drunk driving. After a night drinking with friends, the car he was driving ran into the shutters of a store in Tokyo’s Minato ward around 2:30am on Sunday. The 39-year old male passenger injured his head and was hospitalized.
• Actress Esumi Makiko (photo, 38) has given birth to a baby girl, her first child. her husband, a 39-year old Fuji TV employee was present at the birth in a Tokyo hospital. Makiko is already planning to come back to work and will be visible again from March 24, when a new TV commercial for cosmetic maker Kose will start airing. Remarkably, filming of the commercial took place just three weeks ago.
• The upcoming Fuji TV Monday night drama series will star actress Koyuki (28) alongside SMAP heart throb Kimura Takuya (32). The story, set to start in April, is about a racing driver and has been provisionally named “Engine.” Koyuki, who achieved fame outside Japan for her role in “The Last Samurai,” will play a Golden Time heroine for the first time.