Former Kat-tun idol pleads guilty to marijuana possession
Japan Times -- Jul 12
Junnosuke Taguchi, a former member of male idol group Kat-tun, pleaded guilty Thursday to possessing marijuana in the first hearing of his trial at the Tokyo District Court.

His partner, former actress Rena Komine, who faces the same charge, also entered a guilty plea. The two said there was “no mistake” in their indictment.

Prosecutors sought a six-month jail term for both, saying they have used marijuana for some 10 years and there is a high likelihood of re-offending.

The trial concluded Thursday and the court is due to hand down a ruling July 30. The defense is seeking a suspended sentence.

The 33-year-old Taguchi, wearing a black suit, told the court that Komine, 38, introduced him to marijuana and he began using it for stress relief.

“I betrayed my fans and people around me as well as myself. I want to rehabilitate and lead a decent life,” he said, adding he wants to continue his career in acting and maintain his relationship with Komine.

Komine said she suffered from sleep and eating disorders due to harassment she received after her relationship with Taguchi was reported by media, and she began using marijuana as a way of coping.

According to the indictment, Taguchi and Komine were found in possession of about 2.2 grams of marijuana on May 22 at the Tokyo apartment they shared.

乾燥大麻を所持していたとして起訴されたアイドルグループ『KAT-TUN』の元メンバー、田口淳之介被告(33)と女優の小嶺麗奈被告(38)の初公判が11日に開かれた。大麻を使用した理由について、田口被告は「仕事や人間関係のストレスがあった」と供述。小嶺被告は、田口被告との交際後に「悪質なファンからの嫌がらせによるストレスがあった」と述べた。田口被告との交際について聞かれると「続けていきたい。今後、交際を続けるなら結婚したい」と話した。また、田口被告も「僕も続けていきたい」と語った。検察側は、常習性があり再犯の恐れがあることから、2人に懲役6カ月を求刑。一方、弁護側は、更生に2人の絆が必要だと訴え、それぞれに執行猶予付きの判決を求めている。判決は30日に言い渡される。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
Jul 17
School-related matters led to more suicides last year among youth aged between 10 and 19 than any other issue, the government said Tuesday in its annual paper on the topic. (Japan Times)
Jul 17
Over two weeks of cloudy and rainy days in Tokyo and nearby areas has resulted in higher vegetable prices and sluggish sales of summer clothing. (Japan Times)
Jul 17
Former Emperor Akihito briefly suffered from cerebral anemia last week, forcing him to postpone his regular health checkup, the Imperial Household Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Jul 17
Toyota Motor Corp. and Japan's space exploration agency said Tuesday they have signed a three-year agreement to jointly research and develop a rover to be sent to the Moon in 2029. (Kyodo)
Jul 16
The Tokyo metropolitan region experienced another cloudy and rainy day on Monday, marking the 18th straight day in which the country’s capital has seen less than three hours of sunshine per day. (Japan Today)
Jul 16
The sounds of chanting men carrying huge, decorated floats signaled the climax of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival. Each float weighs more than one ton. (NHK)
Jul 15
A supermarket has opened in the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, which was devastated by the nuclear disaster in 2011. It is the first supermarket to operate in the town since the accident. Evacuation orders were partially lifted two years ago. (NHK)
Jul 15
Shintaro Mochizuki became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam junior boys' title by beating Carlos Gimeno Valero of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in the Wimbledon final. (Japan Today)
Jul 14
A 54-year-old man died after he was hit by a float while taking part in a Gion Festival parade in Usuki, Oita Prefecture, on Friday night. (Japan Today)
Jul 14
Police in Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, said Saturday they have arrested a 20-year-old unemployed man on suspicion of killing his 66-year-old grandfather with whom he lived. (Japan Today)