Japan's Drug Laws are Just as Strict on Celebrities

By Brian Ashcraft on at

Here's a thought: If the West is too lenient regarding controlled substances, then perhaps, Japan is too strict?

As reported by Asahi News, Japanese popstar Aska of the wildly popular group Chage & Aska was recently arrested for allegedly possessing stimulants, including MDMA.

Increasingly, Japanese authorities have been cracking down on drugs and celebrities. Instead of letting-off famous individuals, like police seem to do in the US, the Japanese police and the country's media make examples of them, stringing them out to dry.

The arrest is national news and has led to Universal Music Japan to cancel Aska's contract and to halt the sales of the group's music—including digital releases.

Universal Music Japan's decision to stop selling the group's music shows the company is not interested in capitalising on negative publicity. I hope the company feels the same way about marketing pushes when musicians die. I doubt it, though.

Since the group's music can't currently be sold in Japan, an upcoming Blu-ray box set of Hayao Miyazaki's films is being delayed from June 18th to July 2nd. The set includes the video for Chage & Aska song "On Your Mark." Studio Ghibli animated the video, and Hayao Miyazaki directed and conceived it as a way to help himself overcome the writer's block he was having during the creation of Princess Mononoke. The video was screened as a short before Whisper of the Heart in Japanese cinemas.

Anime Delay Shows How Strict Japan Is about Drugs

AV Watch reports that Walt Disney Japan is removing the music video for the song On Your Mark. Walt Disney Japan is also removing the video from Studio Ghibli collection of short films that was previously released on DVD. In a way, Disney is erasing the short film from Studio Ghibli's back catalogue. It's as if it never existed.

The video, however, can currently still be seen online. It's pretty cool, and a box set without it can hardly be called a true compilation of Miyazaki's work.

Meanwhile, the Japanese media continues to report on how disappointed music fans are that Paul McCartney recently had to cancel his Japanese tour due to illness. While we hope the 71-year-old British rocker is OK, the irony is especially thick because McCartney was arrested at Narita International Airport in 1980 for trying to bring drugs into the country.

ASKA逮捕の余波で宮崎駿監督BD-BOXが発売延期に。「On Your Mark」を抜き7月2日発売 [AV Watch]