It is widely accepted, lately more and more even by members of the conservative right, that Americas stance on drugs and drug use is frankly, absurd. Gradually, the law seems to be moving more toward tolerance and moderation. The point here is, even in the States, people are getting it together and states are beginning to slacken the strangle hold on cannabis and other drugs that honestly, are a lot LESS harmful than say, alcohol or cigarettes.

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Enter Japan
Japan is, as far as I can tell, the most anal-retentive country on the planet and I’ve been around the block a couple of times.
This extreme conservatism is however, one of its most appealing features. That is untill we begin to discuss one of three things.

  1. Immigration
  2. Drugs
  3. Education

Today I am just addressing number 2, Drugs.

Drugs and the “abuse” of drugs has been forefront in the Japanese media due to the arrest/detention and subsequent bail-out of Pop idol Noriko Sakai and her husband.
I will avoid rehashing all the ins and outs and will simply give you a link for you to look at on your own if you so desire.

Noriko Sakai man, I feel bad for her. First of all, her husband ratted her out to the police. Originally, the police had been under the impression that it was only Sakai’s husband that had been using stimulants but no, being a big man, her stellar stand up husband decided to tell the police that Sakai in fact, was also a drug user.
Next, she went on to do this sort of half-hearted, ridiculous escape and evade exercise disappearing for a few days. This was like chucking a liter of gasoline into the fireplace while your roasting marshmallows. It was just dumb. Burnt black sticky marshmallows all over mingling with charred flesh and hair, or something. Not a good idea.
So anyway long story short she gets busted or rather turned herself in and blah-blah 40 days in a detention center awaiting her bail hearing. Oh that’s right folks SPEEDY TRIAL? NOPE! NOT IN JAPAN!
Frankly shes lucky she got bail. Bail in Japan is the exception, not the rule, and you only get it if your famous, rich or both. Oh, and not a foreigner. Gaijin don’t get bail here, despite what your lawyer or anyone might tell you, no.

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So all this trouble for what? She wasn’t “high” or other wise “hopped up” on anything. Despite a tattoo on her ankle and a colored streak in her hair a few years back, nobody has ever mumbled the slightest complaint about Noriko Sakai but now shes a dirty street hooker with a needle hanging out of her arm and a suspicious looking blister on her lip. It’s just pathetic.

Japan, has absurdly strict laws and brutal punishments for people involved in “Drugs”. It’s worthwhile to take a look at what the average Japanese person think’s about drug use.

What do the Japanese think of Drugs?
Mayaku is the Japanese word for drug in the illegal sense, what westerners might call narcotics. The thing is, Mayaku comes from a root word meaning cannabis type drugs. But now everything has been lumped in together so although the average japanese person doesn’t know the difference between MDMA and crack, it’s all the same now. Weed being no exception.
I will not quote statistics or law books here but I know of one case, last year in which a japanese man, 26 year’s old was arrested for possession of 1 kilo of marijuana. He had no prior record and pleaded guilty to possession and was sentenced to 5 years incarceration with labor.
Another man I know was arrested about 6 years ago for using speed; injecting it. He was not caught possessing it but the cops found him high, detained him, did a urinalysis and found traces of stimulants in his body. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 2 years confinement with labor. That was his first arrest.

It seems to all be done in this attempt to persuade everyone that drug’s aren’t really in Japan. That it’s not a Japanese problem and that it’s all the evil “gaijin” elements polluting this pure utopia which is the land of the rising sun.

Do Japanese people do drugs?

I am tall, white, I wear sunglasses at night and I have never been stopped by the police, not even for a routine stop, whatever that is (read: harassment). Yet I have had young Japanese people, men and women, wearing everything from casual jeans and t-shirts to business Hermes, top end, stop me at various places and ask me in round about way’s if I knew anyone that they could buy drug’s from.
I’ve also encountered this online from people in communities like “Mixi”
Japan’s answer to “My Space” , and on Skype.
The younger generation of Japanese people want to use drugs, and who can blame them?
In a society so abstract and demanding yet increasingly without any clear direction for its youth, yet clear demands on what they should achieve, drugs seem like a wonderful way to chill out and get some peace.


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