Health ministry eyes crackdown on 'legal herbs' used as drugs
News On Japan via Mainichi -- Apr 24
At least 77 people have been delivered to hospitals in Tokyo this year after smoking "legal herbs" that have the same hallucinatory and stimulatory effects as illegal drugs, figures gathered by the Mainichi have shown.
The dried herbs are mixed with synthesized drugs and sold legally as incense or air fresheners, but they can excite the central nervous system and produce hallucinations if smoked -- and in some cases cause serious health damage.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has made lists of chemical constituents that affect the central nervous system, and restricts their importation, production and sale. However, new varieties are constantly appearing and controls to keep up with these varieties are falling behind -- prompting authorities to consider a blanket ban.
A collection of materials related to a 17th century mission sent by a Japanese feudal lord to Europe and the world's oldest autographic diary left 10 centuries ago by a Japanese regent have been selected for the UNESCO Memory of the World registry, the Japanese education ministry said Wednesday. (Global Post )
Almost 1,500 people were transported to hospitals by ambulance due to heatstroke last week, up sharply from 942 in the preceding week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Times )
Among about 200,000 traffic signals nationwide, 16 percent are being used beyond the end of the expected lifetime of their electrical systems and some have even toppled over due to age, according to the National Police Agency. (Yomiuri )
In May, Akira Ikoma, the editor of a guide to men's entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), said that "Abenomics" had caused a spike in prices at high-end soapland bathhouses in Tokyo. However, the same editor tells Shukan Post (June 28) that the initiative is not impacting the low-end market in the same way. (Tokyo Reporter )
Tokyo District Court decided on Monday to open planned examinations of three witnesses who are former senior members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult and now death-row inmates, during an upcoming trial of another former senior Aum member. (Jiji Press )