Sakai Noriko’s husband has been re-arrested in the couple’s ongoing drug case. The new arrest follows the discovery of amphetamines at Takaso Yuichi’s villa in the Chiba Prefecture beach town of Katsuura. It will likely lead to a stiffer prison sentence and puts extra pressure on Sakai to come clean. It has become increasingly clear that she was trying to destroy or conceal as much evidence of her drug habit (avoiding a urine test, cutting and dyeing her hair, destroying her mobile phone) before turning herself in to police several days after they issued a warrant for her arrest. Since that time, her statements to police have conflicted with those of her husband, who was arrested six days before her. Though the couple have been living separately for some time, they continued to share their drug habit. Sakai has admitted that they did drugs on their visit to Amami Oshima island last month to watch the solar eclipse, a trip on which they were accompanied by their 10-year-old son. Sakai is known to have visited the Katsuura home several times. The house, which has become a tourist attraction, was painted with the obscure grafitti “BLES” over the weekend.
• Veteran rock ‘n’ roller Uzaki Ryudo (63) is likely to face prosecution for causing a minor traffic accident at the weekend. Uzaki was driving in the Tokyo suburb of Setagaya on Sunday evening when he into the back of a car waiting at a traffic signal. Two women sitting in the rear of the car suffered minor neck injuries.
Singer/songwriter Ayaka (21) was forced to drop out of a scheduled concert appearance at the weekend due to her ongoing medical problems. She has suffered from Graves’ disease, an immune disorder of the endocrine system known in Japan by the less common name of Basedow’s disease, since shortly after her debut. She and actor Mizushima Hiro (25) announced their marriage earlier in the year (photo) but Ayaka has been on an extended sabbatical as she continued her battle with her illness. She was to perform on Saturday in Tsugaru City in northern Japan at the Dream Summer Live in Chikyumura but canceled at the last minute on the advice of her doctor.
Mizushima Hiro, Ayaka Married (Apr. 4, 2009)
• Several members of Akihabara idol unit AKB48 missed out on the group’s first ever shows at Nippon Budokan at the weekend after they came down with influenza. In all seven members were forced to miss the two shows at the 15,000-seat venue, but there was still not much room to move on stage. Backed up by the members of Nagoya-based SKE48, in all there were 74 singers, who performed 33 songs including their latest release “Iiwake – Maybe.” The flu also hit the popular all-female Takarazuka theatrical revue. Two members of the Star Troupe came down with a fever last week and had to drop out the show currently on at the Tokyo theater in Yurakucho.
Headlining the “a-nation” show at Ajinomoto Stadium west of Tokyo on the weekend were top Avex artists like Hamasaki Ayumi and Koda Kumi. But grabbing the headlines was the return of Komuro Tetsuya (50). At the center of a major court case earlier this year, the musician/producer received a suspended prison sentence in a ¥500 million copyright fraud case. The case has left him with huge debts and the only way he knows how to pay them back is by promoting his music. So it was that he, his wife Keiko and bassist Marc Panther were reunited onstage as globe, the J-pop group that had a string of hits in the late 1990s, and who joined the event as surprise guests. Dressed in a white suit and sitting at a piano center stage, Komuro began playing a medley of his many hits. Only when the big screens showed him up close did the 50,000 fans realize who it was. Then he and Keiko bowed and apologized for all the fuss and bother they had caused. Globe, who last performed at the same venue last year, played a couple of songs and were warmly applauded by fans. Komuro also performed with TRF, the pop/dance group for whom he wrote many hits. Komuro recently set up a new management agency and signed a contract with Avex. He is said to have demos of more than a dozen new songs.
More Details on Komuro Arrest (Nov. 5, 2008)
Komuro Gets Off With Suspended Sentence (May 11, 2009)