Drug abuse rampant in entertainment world

By Terrapinzflyer · Nov 1, 2009 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Drug abuse rampant in entertainment world

    TOKYO, Nov 1 — The unprecedented media coverage given to the recent trial of actress-singer Noriko Sakai over possession of marijuana betrays the deep concern in Japan over the rising incidence of drug abuse among the young.

    News of the trial hogged the air waves from the start on Monday morning.

    At least one television network gave a live, blow-by-blow account of the trial with the help of reporters who took turns to tell viewers what was happening inside the court room.

    More than 6,000 people had queued up, some overnight, for 20 courtroom tickets to view the trial, where she pleaded guilty to the illegal drug charges.

    Sakai, 38, is the latest in a string of Japanese celebrities charged with drug abuse over the past year or so. Another recent high-profile arrest was that of popular actor-singer Manabu Oshio, who was charged with taking the synthetic drug MDMA.

    Drug abuse is believed to be so rampant in Japan’s entertainment world that National Police Agency chief Takaharu Ando appealed to companies managing entertainers to help prevent such crimes.

    He told a press conference in August, shortly after Sakai’s arrest: “Drug cases involving celebrities have a large impact on society. We are particularly concerned about their influence on youth.”

    Eradicating drugs in the entertainment world, he reasoned, could help to stem the spread of drug abuse among young Japanese.

    Criminal organisations are believed to be largely behind the supply of illegal drugs in Japan.

    In an address this Wednesday to a meeting of government prosecutors dealing with organised crime, Justice Minister Keiko Chiba described the rising incidence of drug abuse in Japan as “alarming”.

    Many Japanese are said to be ignorant of the fact that possessing or smoking marijuana is a crime.

    Reports late last year that students from prestigious private universities in Tokyo such as Keio and Waseda had been arrested for drug abuse shocked the nation.

    Several members of a well-known rugby team from Kanto Gakuin University, a private college outside Tokyo, have also admitted to smoking pot.

    At Doshisha University in Kyoto, the authorities sent out e-mail messages to all its 26,000 students to warn them against using drugs after one student was found with marijuana at home.

    According to police figures, 1,446 people were arrested in the first half of this year in marijuana-related cases, up by 254 over the same period last year.

    Of the number, 63.2 per cent were young people, including college and high school students.

    Professional sportsmen, including sumo wrestlers and one tennis player, have also been found guilty of drug abuse.

    The ease of purchasing illegal drugs off the streets, typically from Iranian drug peddlers, has apparently contributed to the rise of drug abuse among young people.

    Seeds for growing marijuana plants are also easily available through Internet vendors as “ornamental seeds”.

    In a survey conducted in May last year at Kansai University in Osaka prefecture, one in three students claimed to have been able to get hold of drugs if they wanted to.

    Meanwhile, Sakai has received several offers of up to 100 million yen (RM3.6 million) from China to sing in a concert and do an exclusive interview, according to media reports.

    Sakai was very popular in China during her heyday in the 1990s.

    Straits Times


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  1. Benga
    milsleading title, this. doesn't say much about the rampant drug use in the geinin / entertainment world, but just focuses on the fact that cannabis use is increasing amongst university students in japan.
    another sign are the increasing number of books on cannabis coming out in Japanese, available at alternative bookstores such as Village Vanguard...but it's all still pretty marginal.
    methamphetamine, as always yakuza owned, a few RC's or synths for hip clubbers, a pinch of cocaine for the rich and famous, and mostly homegrown cannabis, a trend introduced by foreigners living in the country, and a little hash smuggled from other Asian countries via pakistani / nepali / iranian connections.

    Japan is far from a drug explosion, though use is increasing, mostly due to university aged boys and girls becoming more rebelious as faith in the system crumbles.
    many books on travelling alone, and far, and tasting the local dope, Japanese lonely planet kind of guides, well more like the first editions of the late 70's--- which is very new in a country where bimbo-ryoko, the poor guy's travelling, usually meant riding a bicycle across the county with your highschool buddies, during summer vacations.
    not more "experimental" road in less touristy places.
    while regular guides will still not mention Paris' 19th district for instance, the local multi-cultural, arty, Brooklyn-like area, as it's off the beaten track, and far from the luxury shopping areas...

    what's very interesting however, is the sharp contrast between the Noriko trial (for what, traces of shabu, her husband's offences and a little paraphernalia) and the NON coverage of the coming ban of synthetic cannabinoids, piperazines and RC's planned for this month.........

    new compounds added to the Japanese restricted chemical list, after 22nd November '09

    no media, no press, no nothing...

    the Noriko story is really pathetic, but then so are the overly mediatized adultery affairs, such as Yamamoto Mona a few years back, and more...

    there is a strong need for proper drug information / education in Japan. in Japanese.

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