Japan, like South Korea and many other Asian countries has strict rules regarding the use of drugs in the general population. Singapore hands out severe punishments for drug use, in some cases, the death penalty is used.
But for Japan, there are literally millions of Japanese citizens who have traveled to popular destinations such as Hawaii, Australia, Holland, the UK, Brazil and Thailand. Many of the youth in Japan have spent 6 months or even a year overseas so they start to view local laws as old and dated. Currently there are waves of Japanese singers and actors who have been arrested for drug use.
Police in Japan took action against 3,578 cases with regards to cannabis in 2018. Of course there are other drugs that have been identified by National Police Agency that are now a problem. Some of the hard drugs by the way have been sent from North Korea, some experts believing that the view is to destabilize Japanese society. The overall drug cases in 2018 for all drugs totaled 13,862.
Police have focused on a wide range of sources with an aim to reduce illicit drugs in Japan. The targets are crime syndicates which in fact are slowly fading in size and influence in Japan due to the government`s strategy. The number of gangsters dropped to a record low of 30,500 in 2018. The largest being Yamaguchi-gumi with 9,500 members.
The street value of a gram of cannabis is ¥5,000 with other drugs, harder drugs commanding ¥20,000 to ¥60,000. This type of drug money is shockingly high so the crime organizations have been heavily involved. In US dollar terms these numbers are 45 dollars which equals to ¥5,000. Do the math, it is scary for Japanese youth.