Explaining Japan’s tough drug rules

Some medications available through prescription or over the counter in the U.S. are prohibited in Japan and cannot be brought into the country.

Heroin, cocaine, MDMA, opium, cannabis and stimulant drugs, including some prescription medications such as Adderall, are prohibited.

There are no exceptions in bringing these prohibited medications into Japan, even if the medication is legally obtained in another country.


Only legalization can win the war on drugs

Prohibition was a failure in the 1920s, and, for similar reasons, the so-called war on drugs has been a disaster. Forty years after U.S. President Richard Nixon declared this war, consumption worldwide is up, violence has increased and the rule of law has collapsed, especially in Latin America.

Basic economics tells us that when there is artificial pressure on supply, prices go up and margins increase — the perfect incentives for criminal activities. The same mistake was made in the United States almost a century ago with Prohibition. As early as 1925, some observers started to see that this policy, far from stopping crime, was leading to the formation of large networks of well-funded crime syndicates.


Prices of Vices: How Much Will $20 U.S. Dollars Buy You Across the World, In Drugs?

Note the wide disparity of drug prices across the countries surveyed.

With the recent turn of economic events in Greece and China, it has become ever more apparent that we live in increasingly globalized world in which economies are inextricably linked.

This begged the question; are national drug economies linked in a similar manner?

In this informative video, BuzzFeed shows you how much coffee, cannabis, cigarettes, cocaine, whiskey, and heroin can you buy for $20 U.S. dollars around the world.


Ex-Toyota exec Hamp walks free; experts divided

Former Toyota Motor Corp. executive Julie Hamp was released from detention Wednesday after prosecutors decided not to indict her regarding the import of a narcotic painkiller.

Prosecutors released the 55-year-old American after deeming that her action had no ill-intent, given that she had her family send the drugs to relieve her knee pain, investigative sources said.

Hamp was arrested on June 18 on suspicion of importing a mail package containing 57 oxycodone pills, which are illegal without a prescription in Japan.

Customs officials at Narita airport on June 11 found some of the pills placed at the bottom of a box listed as containing a necklace, and the rest inside an accessory case.


Is coffee good for you?

Evidence is mounting that moderate coffee intake may protect us from a range of diseases, and even increase life span.

So is it OK to be addicted to coffee? 

In March this year, after a project that lasted just shy of two decades, scientists at Japan's National Cancer Centre released some intriguing results.

Their study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tracked the lives – and sometimes deaths – of more than  90,000 people. Its conclusion was remarkable: "The habitual intake of coffee is associated with lower risk of total mortality and three leading causes of death in Japan."


Loss of Toyota’s first female executive is blow to Japan’s diversity drive

The resignation of Toyota Motor Corp.’s first female executive, who lasted just 90 days in the job, is a blow to Toyota’s drive to make management ranks more international and accepting of female executives.

It also deals a high-profile setback to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has made empowering women a priority to help modernize and jump-start the nation’s economy, including calling on Japan Inc. to have women in 30 percent of leadership roles by the end of the decade.

Julie Hamp, a 55-year-old American who was Toyota’s chief communications officer and one of the company’s highest-ranking non-Japanese executives, gave notice of her resignation Tuesday over her drug-related arrest last month.


U.S. scientists brace for ‘marijuana meltdown’ as laws ease

WASHINGTON – The only marijuana available for research in the U.S. is locked down by federal regulators who are more focused on studies to keep people off the drug than helping researchers learn how it might be beneficial.

Marijuana is a trend that “will peak like tobacco, then people will see their error,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which serves as the gatekeeper for U.S. marijuana research through its oversight of a pot farm that grows the only plants that can be used in clinical trials.





Marijuana advocates say NIDA’s control over research has restricted their ability to test the drug against ailments such as pain, cancer-related nausea and epilepsy.


Strict drug laws put expats at risk

Thursday’s arrest of a high-profile Toyota Motor Corp. executive highlights the danger globetrotters can face bringing psychotropic or other medications into nations where they are banned.

Julie Hamp, named Toyota’s first female managing officer in April, faces drug-smuggling charges after having oxycodone pills sent to her from the United States, said a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, declining to be named on policy grounds. Her arrest was front-page news in Japan, coming amid a widely publicized crackdown on the sale of mood-altering herbs that previously fell outside the nation’s strict laws against recreational drugs.


The Secret History of Cannabis in Japan

“Most Japanese people see cannabis as a subculture of Japan but they’re wrong. For thousands of years cannabis has been at the very heart of Japanese culture,” explains Takayasu Junichi, one of the country’s leading experts.

According to Takayasu, the earliest traces of cannabis in Japan are seeds and woven fibers discovered in the west of the country dating back to the Jomon Period (10,000 BC - 300 BC). Archaeologists suggest that cannabis fibers were used for clothes - as well as for bow strings and fishing lines. These plants were likely cannabis sativa - prized for its strong fibers - a thesis supported by a Japanese prehistoric cave painting which appears to show a tall spindly plant with cannabis’s tell-tale leaves.


Guam: Marijuana board meeting touches on farmers, medical tourism from Japan

Draft rules and regulations for the island’s medicinal marijuana program are expected to be approved and open to public comment by late April, said James Gillan, director of Guam’s public health department.

In November, voters approved legalizing the use of marijuana for the treatment of certain medical conditions, making Guam the first U.S. territory to legalize medical marijuana. The drug remains a Schedule I controlled substance under local and federal law.

The Department of Public Health and Social Services, the lead agency tasked with developing guidelines and regulations under the law, has less than five months to submit rules and regulations to the Guam Legislature.


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