We love context at CLR so a big thankyou to Japan Times for delving…
Earlier this month Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare released data pertaining to cannabis-related detainments from 2022. The good news is that the total number of individuals detained by the police, the ministry’s Drug Enforcement Agency, or the Coast Guard in Japan was a mere 5,546, a 4.1% year-on-year decrease.
That number should obviously be zero, and anything more than zero is unacceptable. However, Japan’s arrest statistic is a far cry compared to some other countries around the globe.
To put the 5,546 figure into perspective, consider that 317,793 people were arrested for cannabis by some level of law enforcement in the United States in 2020. To be fair, the United States has roughly 2.65 times as many people compared to Japan, however, it doesn’t take a mathematician to spot the enormous difference in each nation’s arrest rates.
That, in turn, helps put into proper context another statistic from the arrest data, specifically pertaining to arrests of individuals under 30. Of the total arrests, 69.2% of them were of individuals under the age of 30, which is “the highest percentage to date,” according to domestic reporting. If history is any guide, the latest data will be used to push prohibition policies.
As ‘justification’ for a looming crackdown on cannabis use, Japan’s government previously offered up the talking point that ‘cannabis use by young people was increasing at an alarming rate.’ While the rate did technically increase in recent years, it’s important to remember that Japan has one of the lowest consumption rates out of any country on earth.
In the most recent year for which data is available (2019), Japan experienced a 21.5% increase in measured cannabis consumption compared to the previous year. While that may sound alarming to some lawmakers inside and outside of Japan, consider the fact that less than 2% of people in Japan report having consumed cannabis during their entire life.
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