When this story broke late last week, it was announced that Yuichi Takaso, the husband of Japanese idol and actress Noriko Sakai had been arrested on charges of using and possessing stimulants. The news that his wife, Noriko Sakai, and their 10 year old son were missing was even bigger news. There were rumors of suicide, but eyewitness reports placed her crying at the scene of her husband’s arrest. A national search was on, police appeared on television appealing for her to come forward and call them. There were concerns she would kill herself, and concerns for her son as well.
Sakai’s cell phone was traced to Yamanashi Prefecture, but she was not found.
Today, a warrant was issued for her arrest, even as her son was found safe at the home of a friend of hers in Tokyo.
This is currently the biggest news story in Japan, with breaks in the story coming in updates across the top of tv shows on every channel.
A basic timeline leading up to today follows:
Aug 2: She was called by her husband and asked to come to Shibuya in Tokyo.
August 3: She was seen buying underwear and other clothes in a department store, her husband was arrested, and she talked with her mother-in-law on the phone.
August 4: Her cell phone was located by GPS in Yamanashi Prefecture.
August 5: A friend of Noriko Sakai called the police from a cell phone to report that Sakai’s son was safe and in Tokyo. Sakai also reportedly called the friend’s house in order to hear her son’s voice again.
August 6: Her 10 year old son was found safe.
August 7: A warrant was issued for her arrest for possession of stimulants.
News seems to be breaking quickly with rumors of suicide (wanting to hear her son’s voice one last time) still spreading, but most people still hope that she will turn herself in and get her life back together.
Sakai was born in Fukuoka on February 12th, 1971, and came to fame as a singer and pop idol. Her nickname is Nori-P and she still has fans everywhere. When she was older she also appeared in several tv dramas. She has also starred in several movies and commercials, in addition to publishing books and pursuing other endeavors.
Here’s video of her singing her trademark song, “Aoi Usagi”
I’m sure everyone in Japan hopes she’s found safe, does her time and fixes up whatever’s gone wrong.
SOME UPDATES AS OF August 8th (Japan time)… these are some of the things being reported in various news media in Japan, although given the current high profile case, some of them may prove to be unsubstantiated.
- Noriko Sakai’s younger brother was arrested for stimulant possession last month.
- When Yuichi Takaso was arrested, he reportedly implicated his wife, leading to the warrant for her arrest.
- When confronted by police, the couple claimed that the pills they had were “medicine for the lower half of the body” (direct translation of the Japanese), implying that all they had was Viagra. They tried to use that as an excuse not to show the pills to police. When the police took the pills they saw that they were in fact stimulants.
- The son was left with the mistress of Takaso in Tokyo, who was also a friend of Noriko and the family.
- Noriko Sakai took thousands of dollars out of her bank account.
Update as of the 8:50pm (Japan time) on August 8th
- Reports this afternoon said that DNA found on drug paraphenalia matched Noriko Sakai’s DNA.
- Noriko Sakai has turned herself in to police in Tokyo.
Update as of 12:10am on August 9th:
- A lot of people are also talking about Noriko Sakai’s tattoo.
- Noriko Sakai just appeared in a video to inform people about the new system in Japan by which juries will be used (this is a new thing to postwar Japan).
- The police are reporting that she admitted to there being drugs in her home.