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Japanese star Sakai sentenced to 18 months over drug use

Japanese pop star Noriko Sakai (pictured here in September) has pleaded guilty to illegal drugs charges and prosecutors demanded 18 months' jail in a trial that has sparked intense public interest and frenzied media coverage.

Japanese actress and singer Noriko Sakai was sentenced to 18 months in jail, suspended for three years, for drug use, Tokyo District Court ruled on Monday.

Sakai was arrested in August for drug possession after her husband, Yuichi Takaso, was caught with stimulants a week earlier. When Takaso was arrested, Sakai disappeared for a week with her 10-year-old son, before eventually turning herself in at a Tokyo police station on Aug. 7.

Since her arrest, it has emerged that Sakai had been taking drugs for at least the last two years. In his trial, which started last week, Takaso has claimed that his wife is a drug addict.

At the trial, Sakai pleaded guilty to charges and prosecution had demanded 18 months for the star.

On Monday, more than 3,000 people attempted to get seats for the judgment, with the 20 places available in court decided through a lottery.

Since it emerged that Sakai had taken drugs, the case has been the subject of intense media scrutiny in Japan, where the star's squeaky clean image had helped her to maintain a fan base for two decades.

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 Source : Xinhua  Editor: Ivy
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