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‘Dangerous drug’ imports to be banned from Japan

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The Japanese government and the ruling parties are expected to revise the Customs Law to ban imports of quasi-legal drugs known as dangerous drugs, it has been learned.

The planned revision will place such drugs in the same category as narcotics, firearms and explosives, which are all prohibited from being imported, and impose criminal penalties on offenders, according to sources.

To block the influx of such drugs at the border, the government plans to submit a bill to revise the law during the ordinary Diet session, which convenes next month, and have the revised law take effect in April, the sources said.

Many of the drugs in question are referred to as designated substances under the revised Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Law, formerly known as the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law, and cannot be imported without approval even today. But criminal penalties are not imposed on importers unless they make false declaration when importing the drugs, meaning that all customs can do is report the discovery of such drugs to investigative organizations.