Noriko Sakai, 38, seems to be settling into her new life as a Gunma college student majoring in nursing and welfare, making new friends among classmates who call her “Nori-P” and spending more time outside the confines of her home.
She has already made the statement to relevant parties that she intends to submit her divorce notification on Dec 12 when the court ruling will be handed to her partner of 11 years. Her ex-husband-to-be, Yuichi Takaso, is expected to relinquish custody of their only son to Sakai.
What Sakai faces now is the problem of securing an income. Not only has she lost the "mamadoru" (mother idol) status and her annual revenue rumored to be about 100 million yen, sources in the entertainment industry say that she has already suffered a loss of 500 million yen, including payment of damages for breach of contract to TV advertisement sponsors and cancellation of orders she had placed to launch her own fashion brand, to name a few. “While she may not be held accountable for all moneys owed, her agency will surely demand that she pay part of the debts incurred,” says an entertainment reporter.
Resident taxes, which amount to 10% of taxable earnings to be paid next year, will add to the heavy burden as well. An acquaintance comments, “She cannot expect financial aid from her stepmother and the president of a construction company who have supported her since her arrest. Takaso is unreliable as he practically lives off his parents’ money, so she’ll have no choice but to sell the condominiums in Tokyo that she owns,” according to a source in the industry.
She also has her young son to consider as well as her stepmother who is rumored to be ill. The aforementioned insider points out that there is no way Sakai can support her family and herself financially by becoming a social care worker. “The possibility of her comeback to the entertainment business has nothing to do with her wishes, but an obligation she’s going to have to fulfill.”
And preparations already seem to be under way. “In China and Taiwan, music therapy, a method of healing ailments through relaxing music has become common. Those in the Chinese entertainment industry are considering ways to make business out of Sakai on the premise that social care and nursing can be interpreted to incorporate therapy through music. Needless to say, the work will involve concerts and releasing CD albums, meaning that her activities there may be considered the same as that of any pop singer. Apparently, negotiations with her former agency have already begun.
Under the circumstances, Sakai’s only hope for financial self-reliance is the Chinese market. It would also make sense that her enrollment at the university had been the initial step in that direction. It may not be too far in the future that her new songs will be "imported" from overseas.© Japan Today