The health ministry on Thursday classified recreational nitrous oxide, known as "laughing gas," as a designated drug, banning its production, importation, sale, possession and use, effective Feb 28.
The ban will not apply to nitrous oxide used for medical and other legitimate purposes.
Nitrous oxide is used as an anesthetic agent but it has been sold online in canisters, often labeled as Sivagus, ostensibly for refilling bicycle tires, while actually being used as a recreational drug.
When inhaled, nitrous oxide causes a state of euphoria and relaxation, hence its nickname "laughing gas."
Central Japan Railway will in about four years introduce a new bullet train that will be lighter and consume 7% less electricity than the latest varieties in operation, the company announced Friday. (Nikkei)
The first wave of "Brexit" damage has made a major hit: Japan. As the U.K. contemplated life after Europe on Friday morning, Japan's yen made its biggest surge against the U.S. dollar since the midst of the global financial crisis in 2008. (wsj.com)