Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday declared a new war against quasi-legal highs known as "dappo" drugs, pledging to adopt a speedier process by which regulators can identify and outlaw products with dangerous narcotic or hallucinogenic ingredients.

The pronouncement came at an emergency government meeting was held in response to a recent spate of car accidents involving drivers high on the drugs. In some cases the drivers hit and killed pedestrians.

"Dappo" means law-evading in Japanese. Usually a mix of dried herbs and synthetic stimulants, dealers are quick to produce and market new cocktails that contain chemicals whose molecular structure differs very slightly from those proscribed by law.