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."
For years, it's been one of the Tokyo stock market's biggest open secrets: By the time companies reveal their earnings to the public, the most plugged-in traders have known the numbers for weeks. (Japan Times)
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed his guests at Ise Shrine on Thursday morning at the opening of the Group of Seven summit. Abe is chairing the 2-day meeting at Ise-Shima in central Japan. (NHK)
A Japanese man was arrested Wednesday in Thailand on suspicion of raping and sexually harassing a number boys aged between 13 and 15 in the country's northern province of Chiang Mai, investigators said. (Japan Times)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lodged a protest with U.S. President Barack Obama over the incident which led to an arrest of an American man working at a U.S. military base in Okinawa Prefecture on suspicion of abandoning the body of a Japanese woman during their bilateral meeting in Shima, Mie Prefecture, on Wednesday night. (the-japan-news.com)