Japanese singer Aska arrested on drug charges

TOKYO • Fallen Japanese pop star Aska has been arrested on drug charges after calling the police to tell them he was being spied on at home by a hidden camera, the police and reports said on Tuesday.

The 58-year-old singer - one half of folk rocker band Chage and Aska - was slurring his words on the call when he insisted he was being watched, Jiji Press and other media said.

The police who visited his Tokyo home on Monday arrested him on suspicion of using stimulants and MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, a police spokesman said.

Aska was given a three-year prison term, suspended for four years, in December 2014 for possession and use of the same drugs.

Narcotics are heavily regulated in Japan and the police make much of high-profile arrests.

Writing on his blog, Aska denied reports that a police urine test had come up positive for drug use, saying the result was "not positive. It's 100 per cent impossible".

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

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'Japanese singer arrested on drug charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe