Japan pop star Sakai turned over to prosecutors

TOKYO: Japanese pop star Noriko Sakai was turned over to prosecutors Monday, two days after her arrest on drug charges shattered the singer-actor's wholesome image.

The case of the 38-year-old was sent to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office "on suspicion of possessing stimulant drugs," a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said.

Prosecutors will decide later whether or not she is to face court.

A minivan carrying Sakai, who has a 10-year-old son, was seen shuttling between a Tokyo police station, where she has been detained since her arrest on Saturday, and the prosecutors' office.

Sakai -- who has enjoyed popularity in China, Taiwan and South Korea and is known for her girl-next-door image -- was seen in television footage looking fixedly downwards in the vehicle's rear seat.

Sakai's husband, pro-surfer Yuichi Takaso, 41, was arrested a week earlier with a bag of methamphetamines in Tokyo's Shibuya entertainment district.

Sakai rushed to the scene to defend him before police discovered the illegal substance in his underwear.

She left the scene saying that she had to tend her school-age son, promising to see police later, but then could not be contacted by telephone or email for the rest of the week.

Police issued an arrest warrant on Friday for her after they reportedly found a small amount of methamphetamines at her house, where she was living separately from her husband.

Sakai made her music debut in 1986 and has until recently appeared in TV commercials for carmaker Toyota.

She has also appeared in a promotional video for Japan's Supreme Court to raise public awareness of a new jury system that was introduced last week.

In 1993, she took part in a celebrity campaign to fight youth drug use.