Drug Scandal Fallout

The president of Sun Music, one of Japan’s oldest and most powerful talent agencies, announced Sept. 1 that he was resigning his post to take responsibility for the media scandal surrounding former idol singer Noriko Sakai, who is under arrest for possession of methamphetamine.

As in most moves of this kind, 60-year-old Masahisa Aizawa is not leaving the company, but will move to a vice-president position.
His father, Hideyoshi, 79, who established Sun Music in 1967, will also leave his position as company chairman to become an “adviser.”

Both men, as well as several other executives, will take salary cuts. The junior Aizawa took over the reins of the company from his father in 2004.

The company received criticism from the media in its handling of the scandal.

Sun Music successfully molded Sakai into a star in the late ’80s with a super-clean, virginal image that continued even after the singer-actress married in 1998 and had a baby.

However, after Sakai went on the run just prior to her arrest, Aizawa repeatedly held press conferences that tried to distance the company from its biggest star, denying knowledge of her whereabouts or her alleged drug habit.

The scandal has cost Sun Music hundreds of millions of yen in canceled contracts with companies who used Sakai in their advertisements.