On July 17th, 2011, a prominent doctor from Kyoto University Hospital was arrested in the Tokushima prefecture, for allegedly possessing 0.15g of cannabis during a police confrontation – the doctor went up a one way street and was questioned and searched, and they found a total of 0.15g(!) of cannabis from his dashboard and pocket. How much is 0.15g of cannabis? Is it even enough to roll a joint? Perhaps a pinner, or maybe one good bong hit – but that’s about it. Apparently, the doctor was partying on his way to Tokushima on family vacation. The sad truth is that now he faces up to five years of Japanese prison, which is known as severely disciplined and extremely strict. Naturally he has lost his job – and even more. His name being all over the newspapers and TV, his family was disgraced as well, and one could only imagine the hardships he faces ahead.
Due to it’s strict laws against cannabis in general, the Japanese pot scene is deeply underground. However, it is estimated that over one million Japanese have tried cannabis in one form or another. This is due to excessive traveling done by the Japanese throughout the world, experiencing cannabis for the first time and bringing home the practice of smoking weed. The huge reggae and hip-hop scene in Japan contributes greatly to this culture as well.
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.
When the Japanese equivelent of DEA raided Mr. Katsuragawa’s home, about 20 officers participated in this operation. His first thoughts were that perhaps some Yakuza’s have decided to raid his house. The police were vindictive and angry. They were using vulgar language and accused him of breaking the law.
From the year 1998 through the year 2000, Mr. Katsuragawa had actually maneuvered his way into obtaining the Japanese marijuana license. This was nearly unprecedented, it was almost impossible for openly active pot-smokers to obtain such licensing at the time. Mr. Katsuragawa had went to the appropriate department which issues licenses for growing cannabis, and was tenacious at doing so. He explained the positive properties of marijuana, presented documents and made his case. Ultimately, he was issued a license to grow hemp for seeds and pulp collection purposes. His marijuana license stated that he was going to make paper, even though he was openly suggesting for many Japanese people to smoke pot.
On July 14, 2003, Mr. Naofumi Katsuragawa was arrested in Nagano by the Japanses DEA for cultivating over 100 plants of cannabis with intent to sell, half a gram of methamphetamine, ecstacy and some magic mushrooms. He is very well known in the underground Japanese pot world, dubbed as ‘Che Guevarra’ of Japanese cannabis. He served 5 years in prison in Japan, for he was a second time pot offender, and due to ‘sales charges’. The truth is, Mr. Katsuragawa never collected any money for marijuana, with the occasional exception of people handing over donations for his overhead eventhough he tried to refuse to accept it. He was simply providing cannabis to his close friends and several patients with serious illness’. One of his patients happenned to be a famous writer, with glaucoma, and he was busted first for receieving cannabis from Mr. Katsuragawa. This writer died not too long ago. Mr. Katsuragawa simply followed him to jail, due to the tenacious and cruel Japanese DEA interrogations. Read more
Historically in Japan, cannabis has been used for many centuries, until the end of World War Two, when Gen. Douglas McArther and the General Head Quarters (GHQ) decided this ‘Godsent’ herb to the Japanese people were immoral, and dangerous to not only the public health of the Japanese people, but to the chemical fiber industry. Until then, cannabis grew all over Japan, and today the Self Defense Force and the Japanese equivelent of DEA goes to such places and burns the plants. Many people don’t realize that our historical crop is the same thing as this ‘dangerous and immoral’ drug.
Propaganda against cannabis is very prevelent in Japan, both from the mass media and the centralized and local governments. It is taboo here to even discuss marijuana, and medical use for cannabis. Read more
Public information about Cannabis of Japan is a description of the U.S. Pharmaceuticals sample replica of 15 years or more ago
In our country, the Drug Abuse Prevention Center(DAPC) which is an extra-governmental organization of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, is undertaking the education enterprise about the danger of the medicine.
They are making known to Japanese that a Cannabis has various harm.
They have said, “We need to learn exact knowledge about Cannabis sativa that will be a ringleader of a social problem.
And they have said only the bad thing about “physical and psychic influence of Cannabis”.