Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — The amount of stimulant drugs confiscated by police in 2017 in smuggling cases came to some 1,068 kilograms, exceeding one ton for the second straight year, the National Police Agency said in a provisional report Tuesday.
As part of its efforts to tackle the problem, the agency is hosting the 23rd Asia-Pacific Operational Drug Enforcement Conference in Tokyo from Tuesday, which brings together senior officials of investigative authorities from 29 countries, as well as representatives from international organizations.
The agency hopes to strengthen cooperation with the participating countries and organizations by sharing intelligence on the drug situation and investigation techniques.
At the conference, Shunichi Kuryu, the NPA’s commissioner-general, stressed the importance of enhancing mutual understanding and trust among participating countries and organizations in order to eliminate drug-related criminal organizations.
“Intelligence and cooperation are the most powerful weapons available to drug enforcement organizations in efforts to defeat drug crime organizations, which are the world’s common enemy,” he said.
According to the NPA’s report, the amount of stimulants seized in smuggling cases ranged from 200 kilograms to 500 kilograms in 2008-2015, with the exception of 2013, when there was a huge crackdown on stimulant drugs.
The amount jumped to around 1,428 kilograms in 2016 and remained above the one-ton line in 2017.
The number of “human-carried” smuggling cases, in which stimulants are, for example, hidden in suitcases or wrapped around the body, more than doubled from the previous year in 2017, reaching 84 cases with a total of some 189 kilograms, up 43 cases, or some 117 kilograms, from 2016, according to the NPA.
Notably, the number of human-carried smuggling cases from Thailand has surged since last October, with 15 cases, the largest number by source country, involving stimulants smuggled from the Southeast Asian country.
On the reason for the increase in human-carried smuggling cases, an NPA official said it is likely that smugglers sought a quick way of bringing stimulants into Japan, after some 480 kilograms were confiscated in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, last August, causing a drop in the amount of stimulant supply in the country.Speech