14:49 23 January 2017
Ex-actress Takagi denies marijuana possession at trial
NAHA, Japan, Jan. 23, Kyodo
Former actress Saya Takagi denied marijuana possession Monday at the first hearing of her trial at the Naha District Court in Okinawa Prefecture.
Takagi, 53, who advocated legalization of medical marijuana in her failed campaign for a House of Councillors seat in last July's election, was arrested in October and indicted in November for allegedly possessing about 55 grams of marijuana at her home on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture on Oct. 25, 2016, in conspiracy with her housemates.
She told the court that while she used the marijuana, the drug did not belong to her. She has not been charged with marijuana use.
Shigenari Moriyama, 58, one of her housemates indicted as an accomplice, said at the same hearing that all the marijuana in question was his. His defense said they will dispute the amount in his possession.
Takagi, who was running a guesthouse business on the island, said she used Moriyama's marijuana four to five times a month with his permission to ease pain after having a wisdom tooth removed.
Prosecutors said in their opening statement that Moriyama asked Takagi for permission to bring marijuana to their residence and to use the drugs when they began living together around 2013, and that the former actress granted his request.
Prosecutors said Takagi was sympathetic toward Moriyama's marijuana legalization activities.