Africa and Japan seem to have other ties besides social and economic relations. However, the other involvement of Africa with Japan is nothing favourable. The continent is said to be the major source of smuggled drugs in Japan.
China used to be the number one source of smuggled drugs in the country, and it may still be the same for other countries, but it was also China that was able to trace the smuggling trade to Africa prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The world’s limited knowledge and understanding on Africa as well as the less vigilance over illicit drugs in the continent may be seen by drug smugglers as helpful to their business.
Most of the busted illegal drugs, especially Methamphetamine, a central nervous system stimulant, have been reported to come from Africa since 2010. Whether the increase of the continent’s visitors because of the World Cup hosted in South Africa that year has some connection or not, this writer could only imagine. A report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime last year listed Africa as one of the major manufacturers of illegal drugs. It was also mentioned in the report that drug smuggling between South America and Europe usually pass through Africa. From 2010 until last year, 20 percent of the drug smuggling cases were said to be from Africa.
Smuggling illegal drugs in the country come in different forms. Some ask a returning Japanese from Africa to become an unaware transporter. In May this year, a couple was asked by their local guide when they were heading back to Japan to take a bag of coffee for a friend. The Japanese couple later found out that the unusually heavy bag actually contained illegal substances. For people involved in the illegal trade, Japan is as a significant market. The UNODC listed Japan in 2005 as having the most expensive Marijuana ($58.30/gram), costing more than five times the prices offered in the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, France, and Britain. “The Japanese market is being targeted by suppliers around the world because the street price of the drugs is about 70,000 yen ($710) a gram,” said a drug investigations official.
Although some people, who may have been used as pawns by drug syndicates, were already arrested because of drug smuggling, the Japanese authorities still couldn’t trace the master minds. “While those at the very bottom of the smuggling organizations may be arrested, the police have been unable to unravel the true extent of activity,” said Sakae Komori, a lawyer specializing in drug cases.
[via Asahi Shimbun]
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan