It is especially regrettable to see that Sawajiri Erika literally squandered what she built up over recent years after her controversial behaviour in the past with just one action. In particular, I wonder what will happen to NHK's 2020 Taiga "Kirin ga kuru" which already began filming in June this year and she plays a pretty significant role in it.
Here is a summary of the key facts as reported by the media:
- The police showed up at Sawajiri's apartment in Meguro Ward, Tokyo around 8.30am on 16 Nov where they found 2 capsules containing MDMA in powder form (about 0.09 grams). These capsules were in a plastic bag and kept in her 3-tiered accessories shelf. It was reported that she admitted to the drugs being hers and she was brought to the Metropolitan Police Department's HQ before being formally arrested at 1.30pm. The capsules and Sawajiri's mobile phone were seized during the raid. Sawajiri's mother lives with her in the same apartment and she was also there when the search by the police was taking place.
- Sawajiri was sent from the MPD's HQ to Wangan Police Station at 7.15pm and will be sent to the prosecutors on the following day i.e. 17 Nov.
- Coincidentally, Sawajiri was caught on video by Japan News Network (JNN) the night before her arrest. She was said to have left her apartment around 9.45pm on 15 Nov and took a taxi to a club in Shibuya. It was reported that the police came knocking on her door just as she returned to her home the following morning.
- Since the beginning of this month, there have been a number of high-profile arrests of people involved in drug-related offences including former talent Tashiro Masashi, professional snowboarder Kokubo Kazuhiro and financial trader KAZMAX (Yoshizawa Kazuma). This coincides with the campaign spearheaded by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the local prefectural governments to stem out drug abuse. It was reported that the authorities received information about Sawajiri thus leading to the search of her apartment.
- Sawajiri's agency avex management released a statement in the evening of 16 Nov where they apologised for this case causing worry and concern to their work partners and her fans. They stressed that they are trying to find out more about the case and will announce in the near future as to what they will do to deal with this. Sawajiri had her contract cancelled by her previous agency in September 2009 for breach of contract and inappropriate behaviour after she showed her displeasure at the first-day-screening event of her movie in September 2007. She transferred to avex in April 2010.
- In response to her arrest, Sawajiri's CMs for Suntory's Horoyoi has been removed from the company's YouTube channel in the same evening. Her CM and behind-the-scenes clip for recruitment search engine Indeed Japan which were just released on 15 Nov, were also removed from the company's YouTube channel.
- With regard to her role in NHK Taiga drama "Kirin ga kuru" which will begin its run from 5 Jan 2020, NHK said that they are discussing what to do about this especially since she will appear from the first episode and plays an important character in the story. She is acting as Kicho (Nohime), the daughter of Saito Dosan (Motoki Masahiro), who will become Oda Nobunaga's (Sometani Shota) first wife later. Filming for the drama began on 4 June this year.
Coincidentally, this is the second year in a row that NHK's Taiga dramas are facing a similar issue i.e. a cast member caught for drug offences. Pierre Taki who initially appeared in this year's "Idaten", was caught in March and his role was taken over by Miyake Hiroki who had to redo the filming.
- Sawajiri was the host for NHK BS Premium's documentary "Another Stories Unmei no Bunkiten" for 2 years from Oct 2016 which could be watched on NHK On-demand previously. Following her arrest, her 10 episodes have been taken off from the site.
- Sawajiri also appears in the movie "Ningen Shikaku Dazai Osamu to Sannin no Onnatachi" starring Oguri Shun which has been showing since September 2019. It remains to be seen if her arrest will affect the movie's release in any way.
Sources: Chunichi Sports / Daily / Sponichi Annex / BuzzFeed Japan / TBS News / Oricon