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Seized illegal drugs in Japan hit record high in 2019

  • February 12, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 6:36 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Feb. 12 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s customs authorities seized a record 3,318 kilograms of illegal drugs in 2019, up some 2.2-fold from the previous year, the Ministry of Finance said Wednesday.

 

This is the first time that seized illegal drugs have topped 3 tons a year.

 

“The inflow of illegal drugs is very serious,” a senior ministry official said.

 

The ministry plans to strengthen crackdowns on illegal drugs by introducing new testing equipment and promoting information sharing with the authorities of other countries.

 

In 2019, customs authorities seized some 2,570 kilograms of stimulants in a total of 425 cases, including one smuggling case involving about one tons of stimulants.

 

Of the total detected cases, 204, or 48 pct, involved imports from Asian countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.

 

Japan has become a major market for smugglers as street prices for stimulants in the nation are higher than those overseas, according to the ministry.

 

The ministry’s Customs and Tariff Bureau signed Wednesday a memorandum of cooperation on smuggling prevention with Japan’s National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations in a bid to intensify crackdowns on illegal drug trading in the sea.

 

The ministry also said Wednesday that the number of cases of gold smuggling into Japan in 2019 fell 94 pct, with the amount of seized gold dropping 84 pct, reflecting a series of emergency countermeasures and stricter penalties.

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