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."
Japan's vacant house problem will become worse before it becomes better. According to government estimates there are 8 million residences in Japan with no one living in them, a number that Bloomberg reports will increase to 20 million by 2033, representing a third of all the homes in Japan. (Japan Times)
Kashima Antlers claimed their record eighth J. League title after coming from behind to stun Urawa Reds 2-1 in the championship final second leg on Saturday and win on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw. (Japan Times)
Finance Minister Taro Aso was the top political fundraiser in the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2015, according to reports submitted to the government by political parties and groups. (the-japan-news.com)
The Japanese government is strengthening management of remote islands within national boundaries as part of an effort to protect territorial waters and impose a check on repeated Chinese provocations near them. (Nikkei)