Noriko Sakai trial draws crowds

Rabu, 28 Oktober 2009 |

noriko sakai

The trial of actress Noriko Sakai (38) dominated the media on Monday, as a large portion of the country tuned in to follow the trial's coverage. As expected, Sakai admitted to the charges of drug use and possession, and she is now awaiting a verdict.

During the trial, Sakai demonstrated her remorse with tears while stating that she is prepared to divorce her husband, Yuichi Takaso (41), in order to rehabilitate herself. She even hinted at the possibility of her retirement from show business, though she did not explicitly discuss it.

The prosecution is asking for a sentence of 18 months. The verdict is scheduled to be given on November 9.

Before the trial started, thousands lined up in the rain for a chance to get one of the 20 seats in the courtroom's public gallery. A total of 6,615 people were there, with some having waited overnight. With 1-in-330.75 odds of getting a seat, the trial set a new record, surpassing the 1996 trial of the Aum Shinrikyo cult leader Shoko Asahara. 12,292 people lined up for that trial, but with 48 available seats, their odds were slightly better at about 1-in-256.

In terms of the number of people trying to get a seat, Sakai's trial is 2nd behind Asahara's. Among celebrity trials, hers is #1. The previous record had just been set by Manabu Oshio (31), with 2,232 people lined up for his trial on October 23. Takaso's trial, which was held on October 21, drew a crowd of 1,557 people.

According to data from Video Research Ltd., ratings for TV programs related to the trial were high across the five major networks, totaling a 35.4% viewership. In comparison, total ratings were 43.3% for the live broadcast of her apologetic press conference on September 17 after she was released on bail.


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