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.
Fewer than 40 pct of residents and commuters in Tokyo take specific measures to prepare for a possible huge earthquake beneath the Japanese capital, despite high awareness on disaster prevention, a Metropolitan Police Department survey showed Friday. (Jiji Press )
The man under arrest for fatally stabbing one man and wounding three others during a 10-minute rampage in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday night, told police on Thursday that he wanted to hijack a plane at Haneda airport and fly it into Tokyo Skytree to take revenge on society. (Japan Today )
The 24-year-old suspect in the murder of a man on a street in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday is believed to have posted a profile online in which he identified himself as a "celeb NEET," meaning a celebrity without a job, according to local online news site J-Cast News. (Japan Times )
The proportion of single nonregular Japanese male workers in their 20s who have girlfriends stood at 18.7 pct in 2012, against 30.7 pct for regular employees, a government survey revealed Thursday. (Jiji Press )
Police in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Wednesday night arrested a 24-year-old unemployed man over four knife attacks within 10 minutes that left one man dead and three others injured on a street. (Japan Today )