After actress Noriko Sakai was released from custody on drug charges in 2009, she made an appearance in front of the Tokyo Wangan Police Station. Attired in a dark suit and wearing make-up, Sakai offered an apology before the assembled media — a perfect anti-drug message, police thought.
Law enforcement had hoped for a similar performance by singer Aska, who had been arrested three times on drug-related charges since the middle of May, when he appeared in the same position upon his release on bail of seven million yen on July 3.
But instead of speaking, the 56-year-old musician, one half of the duo Chage and Aska, simply offered a deep bow.
In spite of his liberation the troubles for the star are just beginning, reports Flash (July 22).
Aska’s release came three days after the submission of his request. Such a delay was caused by one thing: money, or rather, lack thereof. “They couldn’t agree on a bail amount,” a newspaper reporter tells Flash.
A criminal lawyer says the procedure does not take into account one’s current financial condition. “When a court decides on bail, it considers the defendant’s image, not the value of his assets,” says the lawyer. “In the case of Aska, the court might have asked for 15 million yen. With that being quite substantial, perhaps his lawyer tried to negotiate by presenting supporting materials. That seven-million-yen figure appears half-baked.”
Flash mentions two properties — one in Sapporo and another in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward — that the singer, a popular figure in the entertainment world in the 1990s, owns outright. But liquidity may be a concern. With news reports indicating he had been paying approximately 70,000 yen per gram of stimulant drugs, a mark-up of three times the typical street value, there is speculation that he may now be out of cash.
A newspaper reporter says that during questioning Aska discussed how he obtained his drugs. “Apparently, there are two, Roppongi and Sapporo,” says the reporter. “In Roppongi, the route includes a new face to police, a guy in his 40s who runs a fuzoku (adult-entertainment) operation and has not been involved in drug incidents in the past. He enjoys a fancy lifestyle in Tokyo, and police are interviewing people about whether they’ve seen him with Aska.”
When Aska, whose real name is Shigeaki Miyazaki, was taken into custody for the first time, on May 17, a female acquaintance, 37-year-old Kasumi Tochinai, a former employee at a company affiliated with staffing agency Pasona, was also arrested on drug-related charges.
The founder of Pasona, Yasuyuki Nambu, is a friend of Aska. The musician met Tochinai at one of Nambu’s lavish banquets, held inside a secretive reception hall in Tokyo. Attendees also included executives and consultants at Pasona, a number of politicians and hostesses.
Tochinai denies the charges against her. But a co-worker says that during a search of the garbage of Tochinai’s apartment, which is provided by Pasona, officers discovered semen-stained tissues that tested positive for drugs.
“She fears that this will be troublesome for her boss, Nambu and Aska,” says the co-worker. “So she may choose to remain silent in order to not give herself away. As a result, of course she’ll face a stronger punishment.”
The trial for Aska is scheduled to begin at the Tokyo District Court on August 28. (K.N.)
Source: “Aska hoshakukin 700manen ni negiretta kaneme jijo,” Flash (July 22)