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Ex-KAT-TUN idol gets suspended term for marijuana possession

Junnosuke Taguchi, left, and Rena Komine (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Junnosuke Taguchi, a former member of Japanese male idol group KAT-TUN, was given a suspended prison term Monday for possessing marijuana.

The Tokyo District Court sentenced the 33-year-old Taguchi to six months in prison, suspended for two years. His partner, former actress Rena Komine, 39, was given the same suspended term for the same offense.

The two had admitted to the possession charge in their trials. Prosecutors had sought six months in jail for both, while the defense had called for a suspended sentence.

According to the ruling, Taguchi and Komine were found in possession of about 2.2 grams of marijuana on May 22 at a Tokyo apartment they shared.

They were released on June 7, two days after being indicted, on bail of 3 million yen ($27,600) each.

The ruling was initially scheduled to be handed down on July 30, but put off at the request of prosecutors, who said Monday the postponement was necessary to scrutinize the legality of the release of footage of a raid on the couple's Tokyo apartment to the media.

The prosecutors said they concluded the provision of the footage to the press by a regional bureau of the health ministry's narcotics control department did not pose any legal problem.

Presiding Judge Kenji Nagaike indicated the ruling reflects the fact that the defendants "told investigative institutions their sources for obtaining marijuana and severed relationships with them."

Before the ruling, Taguchi said, "I feel sorry for causing trouble. I'd like to move forward even by one step."

Komine said, "By reaching out to my fans, friends and family members who have given me kind words, I'd like to move forward so I can be strong."

KAT-TUN was created by top talent agency and production company Johnny & Associates Inc., whose founder Johnny Kitagawa died in July. Taguchi left KAT-TUN in March 2016, 10 years after the group released its debut CD, to pursue a solo career.

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