What makes me so bad that I have to go to prison? – A Marijuana Incident

To English readers: This is a record of an incident of Mr. Yamasaki, who intentionally got him self arrested so that he could argue in court the marijuana control laws’ violation of the constitution. The incident is currently on appeal to the supreme court.

We feel that the marijuana supporters of the world can sympathize with Mr. Yamasaki’s attitude. We hope that people will follow the trial’s progress, and by doing so learn about a face of Japanese society where courts are almost medieval and principles of modern justice are meaningless.

Written by: SHIRASAKA Kazuhiko – Chairman, THC Japan
Translated by: nickjplante

Please note that the Japanese names are written with the family name first.

The following article was posted on FNN News on March 4th:

————-Beginning of quote————-

56 year-old unemployed man arrested for smuggling marijuana from Thailand by airmail.

An unemployed man was arrested by police under suspicion of smuggling dried cannabis purchased in Thailand via airmal. The man arrested, 56 year-old Yamasaki Kazuo, unemployed and address unknown, violated marijuana control laws by smuggling 3 grams of marijuana from Thailand via airmail in February.

On March 2nd, Yamasaki was spotted by police in Ueno Park and arrested.

Yamasaki was said to have purchased the marijuana in Thailand, which he mailed to Japan, addressed to a post office in Taito, Tokyo.

(March 4th, 13:32)

————-End of quote————-

Original article: http://www.fnn-news.com/news/headlines/articles/CONN00172919.html

What was not mentioned in the article was that Yamasaki Kazuo sent the marijuana from Thailand in order to appear in court to argue the unconstitutionality of the marijuana control laws. He had been writing for some time in his blog about how he was determined to start a trial. The following is an excerpt from that blog:

————-Beginning of quote————-

My real name is Yamasaki Kazuo.

I have been arrested twice for marijuana possession and served nearly five years in prison. With both of the arrests I was very dissatisfied with my trials.

I have requested to be retried 3 times, but I was dissatisfied with these trials as well. I concluded that this was not due to any mistakes, but because I was intentionally tried unfairly, thus I accused the judge of abuse of authority.

(section omitted)

I considered getting myself arrested once more for marijuana possession in order to hold a criminal trial. I wrote about this in my blog, and before I knew it, the blog was suddenly deleted. My blog on Yahoo! was suddenly deleted. So, I took whatever I had left on me and quickly started this blog.

And that bring us to now.

————-End of quote————-
●”Yama’s blog” profile (Japanese):

Mr. Yamasaki dared to commit an arrestable offense with marijuana. He says that he wishes to argue the unconstitutionality of the marijuana control laws. Because there is a very good chance that Mr. Yamasaki will end up back in prison, I sent him a comment advising him to stop. However, Mr. Yamasaki’s intentions would not be swayed in the slightest.

Mr. Yamasaki had contacted me a while back. He said that if he ever was arrested, he wanted me to take action, such as working with lawyers to get transcripts of his trial, and posting them on the Marijuana Control Law Reform Center website (now known as THC Japan), in order to spread his message to as many people as possible.

The following is a comment that Yamasaki posted on his blog on March 1st, the day before his arrest:

————Beginning of quote————–
March 2, 10:30, Ueno Park by the statue of Saigo Takamori
I am to meet a man from Tokyo Customs tomorrow morning from 10:30 to 11:30 at Ueno Park by the statue of Saigo Takamori.

Not Narita Customs, but Tokyo Customs. I am to meet a Mr. Suzuki of the 6th prosecution branch of Tokyo Customs.

It seems Mr. Suzuki’s workplace is in Odaiba as he asked me to come there, but I refused, and we agreed to meet at Ueno Park. Meeting at my current residence would disturb the other people there, so meeting at Ueno Park is fine with me. Well, then…
-Yama, March 1st, 2011, 11:07:18

————-End of quote————-

After reading this comment, I decided to give Mr. Yamasaki a call. Getting himself arrested for marijuana, and fully prepared to go to prison, just what is it that he wants to say in the courtroom?
Mr. Yamasaki quietly muttered his answer:

“The issue is ‘what did I do wrong?’ My using marijuana has not caused me any problems, nor has it caused problems for others. If I’m not causing any trouble, why must I be sent to prison? Is marijuana really that bad? This is what I plan to argue.”

Mr. Yamasaki did not flee when his marijuana smuggling was discovered, and he was not “spotted” by police in Ueno Park. He called Tokyo Customs of his own volition, and upon refusing a meeting at the Odaiba office, chose the statue of Saigo Takamori as the meeting place. Undoubtedly, a “concerned party” made an announcement to FNN News.

Before heading to the statue in Ueno Park, Mr. Yamasaki posted the following comments via Twitter:

————Beginning of quote————–
I’m going to listen to some music until it’s time
9:02 AM Mar 2nd via web

Kagawa Ryo: Sono Asa (That Morning)
9:12 AM Mar 2nd via web

It’s about time to put the computer away. Well then, see ya! Poof!
9:30 AM Mar 2nd via web
————-End of quote————-

Twitter: Yamasaki Kazuo yamasaki117

Talking as if he were about to go out for a morning walk
Mr. Yamasaki sets out on a journey that may lead to prison.

How will Mr. Yamasaki’s lawsuit go through the judicial system? Perhaps it won’t make it through. Personally, I’d like to see it succeed.

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