May 8, 2020 – But Tokyo is not L.A., and Sawajiri’s true punishment was meted out in public. Before any evidence had been shown to a judge in court, Sawajiri had been effectively scrubbed from the public domain. She lost her job, was forced to declare she would never work again as an actress, and was publicly shamed across the media. On her Wikipedia page she’s described as a “former actress.” She just turned 34. Japan is certainly not one of the world’s most punitive nations on drug crime. Its maximum sentence for cannabis possession of five years, for instance, is the same as in the U.K. Yet, at a time when the celebrity drug exposé is now largely a thing of the past in the West as recreational drug use has become normalized, Japan still treats superstars caught with drugs like pariahs. When another actress, Saya Takagi, was arrested for cannabis possession in 2016, her hard-earned career was erased almost overnight. Re-runs of the TV series she appeared in were taken off air, DVDs featuring her shows were recalled, and the popular TV theme song she helped write was ditched for another one.