• Kyodo

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The amount of stimulant drugs seized in smuggling cases by Japanese police soared to 771.7 kg in the first half of 2016, about 6.5 times the volume reported in the same period the previous year, preliminary police data showed Thursday.

As Tokyo police seized about 154 kg of stimulant drugs smuggled into Japan in July, the annual amount of such drugs is expected to surpass the current record of 816.1 kg in 2013, according to the National Police Agency.

The street value of stimulant drugs stood at ¥70,000 per gram recently compared to ¥90,000 in 2009, it said, indicating the growing influx of such drugs into Japan.

“We could not rule out the possibility of the drugs flowing into Japan, slipping through our drug control,” an agency official said.

Smuggling of the drugs was uncovered in 33 cases in the six-month period, down 16 from a year before, and the number of people involved in such cases fell by 212 to 4,864.

The report said drug runners who employ methods such as taping contraband to their bodies are becoming less common, while the use of sea transport, such as sailboats, and international courier services are on the rise.

In May, a group of Taiwanese were arrested by police in Okinawa Prefecture for allegedly carrying 597 kg of drugs on their sailboat. The volume marked the biggest in a single illicit drug bust in Japan.

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