National / Crime & Legal

Japan trade ministry official arrested over alleged attempt to smuggle stimulant

Kyodo

A 28-year-old trade official has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to smuggle a stimulant from the United States, police said Monday.

According to the police, Tetsuya Nishida, deputy director of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s automobile division, received a dummy package he allegedly believed contained the substance on Saturday at his home in Tokyo.

The original package had been intercepted and replaced by investigators, the police said.

The career-track bureaucrat denied the allegation, saying he was not aware of the contents of the parcel, according to the police.

They claim that the original package arrived in Japan on April 15 and that it contained 22 grams of a stimulant, worth about ¥1.3 million, in a plastic bag stuffed between the pages of a magazine.

The package was addressed to another location, but Nishida instructed the postal service to deliver it to his home instead, the police said.

“It’s truly regrettable. We will cooperate fully in the investigation,” METI said in a statement after Nishida’s arrest was announced.