Asia meth demand soars; Japan top market

AP, Kyodo

Asia’s robust economy and strong demand for drugs drove global production and trafficking of methamphetamine to record levels last year, with Japan one of the most lucrative markets, the United Nations said Tuesday.

Asia is the world’s largest market for stimulants and seizures of methamphetamine pills and crystal meth have tripled to at least 36 tons over the last five years, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report released in Tokyo.

The trends reflect Asia’s growing economic power and demand for new synthetic drugs. China and India, which have large chemical industries, are the region’s major production hubs of methamphetamine, the addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. The report said organized crime groups, including those in Japan, help traffic meth from Mexico, the Middle East and the rest of Asia.

The regional integration of economies, trade and transportation help spread the drug faster, said Jeremy Douglas, an UNODC regional representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, told a news conference.

Japan is seen as one of the most lucrative markets. The amount of amphetamines seized here last year tripled from a year earlier, mostly due to large-volume smuggling from abroad.

Of about 12,000 drug-related arrests in 2013, about half involved yakuza groups, police statistics show.

“Japan’s methamphetamine problem can be attributed to extremely high street price. We are concerned that this could motivate criminal organizations to smuggle more drugs into Japan,” said Yoshiya Takesako, a National Police Agency director of international drugs and firearms investigation.

Street prices are $700 per gram here on average, nearly twice that in the U.S., Takesako said, citing the U.N. report.

Singer-songwriter Aska was arrested Saturday on suspicion of possessing a small amount of “kakuseizai” (stimulants) in April. The potent drug’s main ingredient is usually amphetamine or methamphetamine.

  • zer0_0zor0


    robust economy?

    Maybe abuse is up precisely because the Japanese economy is not robust, and more desperate people are resorting to trying the drug to boost their energy level.

    It’s use is also prominent among young women working as hostesses in the 水商売(mizushobai) world of hostess clubs, etc.

  • Roppi

    Always the same theme zerO_OzerO – you don’t like Japan and any opportunity you have to stick to them – you do so with both hands….
    As for your intimate insight into the ‘mizushobai world’ – how would you even know?? You have a ‘friend’ who smokes ice and she told you in confidence or could it be that you just make it up…???

  • itoshima2012

    apply the Singaporean law to this drug menace! Death for smuggling it into the country and very long jail sentences for dealing and using it! Less scum guaranteed

  • Obi Won

    Make it legal – takes away incentive to hook youth,

  • Roppi

    So that’s all have? – basically NOTHING! Vague references to books that what -PROVE that you’re right??
    ‘Sir’- try writing something that can actually back up your rabid, vehement opinions.
    And as to my attitude -like many things in my life it’s not perfect – but it’s genuine – and pro the country that I live in rather happily – you ‘sir’ should really consider leaving given how much you hate this place..