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Japan pop star Aska pleads guilty to drug charges

Japanese pop star Aska on Thursday (Aug 28) pleaded guilty to drug charges after his arrest in May made headlines across the country. 

TOKYO: Japanese pop star Aska on Thursday (Aug 28) pleaded guilty to drug charges after his arrest in May made headlines across the country. More than 2,600 people queued in the rain to get one of just 21 seats in a Tokyo courtroom where the well-known celebrity was making his first public appearance since being released on bail last month.

The 56-year-old - who is part of the popular music duo Chage and Aska - admitted during his one-day trial in Tokyo District Court that he purchased illegal stimulants earlier this year.

Prosecutors have demanded a three-year prison term, Jiji Press news agency said. Sentencing is scheduled for September 12.

Asked by the judge if he had any objections to the indictment, the singer, who was wearing a black suit, told the court: "There is nothing to say."

"I'm very sorry to my fans and to those whom I troubled," Aska said Thursday, according to Nippon Television Network.

The singer, whose real name is Shigeaki Miyazaki, declined to say if he planned to continue with the group. "I can't think about anything now," he said. "It's important to concentrate on getting treatment by following the instructions of my doctor."

The pop star was charged with possessing and using stimulant and synthetic narcotic drugs at his Tokyo apartment and in other locations. He had initially denied the allegations and rejected news reports that he was a drug addict. But he later admitted the charges and reportedly told investigators that he obtained the narcotics from gangsters.

Chage and Aska made their musical debut in 1979 and remain hugely popular in Japan and in other parts of Asia where the duo have toured including Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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