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Cablegate: Incsr: Japan 2008

VZCZCXRO6865
OO RUEHFK RUEHGH RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3103/01 3142253
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 092253Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8639
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6275
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 0846
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 8894
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 3207
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 4631
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 1418
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI PRIORITY 0491
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG PRIORITY 0673
RUEABND/DEA DISTRICT OFFICE HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEABND/DEA FIELD DIVISION ATLANTA GA PRIORITY
RUEABND/DEA FIELD DIVISION CHICAGO PRIORITY
RUEABND/DEA FIELD DIVISION LOS ANGELES PRIORITY
RUEABND/DEA FIELD DIVISION MIAMI PRIORITY
RUEABND/DEA FIELD DIVISION NEW YORK PRIORITY
RUNGCAF/DEA GUAM ISLAND GU PRIORITY
RUEABND/DEA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHDC PRIORITY
RUESFG/FBIS BANGKOK TH PRIORITY
RUESDJ/FBIS OKINAWA JA PRIORITY
RUESDP/FBIS SEOUL KOR PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TOKYO 003103

SIPDIS

JOHN LYLE, INR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SNAR JP
SUBJECT: INCSR: JAPAN 2008

JAPAN: I. Summary

1. (SBU) Japan's efforts to fight drug trafficking comply
with international standards; Japan is a party to the 1988 UN
Drug Convention. Japan cooperates with other countries in
intelligence sharing and law enforcement. Methamphetamine
abuse remains the biggest challenge to Japanese antinarcotics
efforts, marijuana use is widespread and MDMA (Ecstasy)
trafficking continues to increase significantly. Cocaine use
is much less prevalent but still significant. According to
Japanese authorities, all illegal drugs consumed in Japan are
imported from overseas, usually by Japanese or foreign
organized crime syndicates. In spite of legal and
bureaucratic obstacles, Japanese law enforcement officials
try to be proactive in addressing Japan,s illegal drug
distribution problem.

II. Status of Country

2. (SBU) Japan is one of the largest markets for
methamphetamine in Asia. A significant source of income for
Japanese organized crime syndicates, over 80 percent of all
drug arrests in Japan involve methamphetamine. MDMA is also a
significant problem in Japan and MDMA abuse is increasing.
Marijuana is the second most commonly used drug in Japan and
is readily available. There is little evidence of domestic
commercial cultivation, though there are some indications of
small scale production. Japan is not a significant producer
of narcotics. According to According to DEA and the National
Police Agency, there is no conclusive evidence that
methamphetamine or any other synthetic drug is manufactured
domestically. There is however some anecdotal evidence that
small quantities of MDMA and methamphetamine may be being
produced in Japan.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2008

Policy Initiatives.
3. (SBU) The Headquarters for the Promotion of Measures to
Prevent Drug Abuse, which is part of the Prime Minister's
Office (Kantei), announced the Five-Year Drug Abuse
Prevention Strategy in July 2003. This strategy includes
measures to increase cooperation and information sharing
among Japanese agencies and between Japanese and foreign law
enforcement officials, promotes greater utilization of
advanced investigative techniques against organized crime
syndicates, and mandates programs to raise awareness about
the dangers of drug abuse. In practice, information sharing
with foreign law enforcement officials has been almost
entirely one way, with much information provided to Japanese
authorities and little shared in return. The Ministry of
Health, Labor and Welfare added 30 more drugs to its list of
controlled substances in 2006. In 2008 it added three more
drugs to its list of narcotic substances.

Law Enforcement Efforts.
4. (SBU) Japanese police are effective at gathering
intelligence. Investigations however are largely reactive in
nature, and normally only disrupt drug operations at the
lowest levels, that of couriers and street dealers.
Prosecutors do not have the plea-bargaining tools to motivate
the assistance of co-defendants and co-conspirators in
furthering investigation. Japan also has laws restricting the
proactive use of informants, undercover operations, and
controlled deliveries using a human courier. Proactive
policing rarely occurs, and only when very strict legal, and
bureaucratic hurdles can be overcome. Although wiretapping
remains infrequent, police are increasingly making use of
legislation that took effect in 2003 authorizing the use of
telephone intercepts. In addition, officials maintained

TOKYO 00003103 002 OF 003


detailed records of Japan-based drug trafficking, organized
crime, and international drug trafficking organizations.
Japanese authorities do attempt to engage in international
drug trafficking investigations. Legal constraints however
restrict them from passing useful and timely information of
real assistance in international drug-trafficking
investigations. These same legal restrictions make it very
difficult for police authorities to pro-actively investigate
members of international drug cartels who operate in Japan.

5. (SBU) The reduction in methamphetamine supply that began
mid-2006 appears to have reversed. Law enforcement officials
believe that Chinese traffickers using supplies from China
and Canada have stepped in to fill the gap presumably created
by the 2006 closure of several methamphetamine mega-labs in
Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, as well as
tightened security measures in the Sea of Japan.
Methamphetamine prices have returned to their May 2006
levels, indicating a significant rebound in supply. Arrests
in 2008 show that Iranians remain active as dealers at the
street-level out of proportion to their share of the
non-native population.

6. (SBU) After a year of unremarkable interdiction results in
2006, increased efforts by customs officials produced
dramatic results in 2007, and these continued to improve in
2008, particularly at Narita and Kansai International
Airports. However, because of the nature of Japanese laws,
these seizures result in little more than the arrest of the
courier, and do nothing but inconvenience the larger
drug-trafficking organization. In the January through June
2008 Police and Customs Officials seized 58,966 MDMA
tablets, 42.1 kg of methamphetamine, and 94.7 kg of marijuana
(a 2.5 times increase over the same period of the previous
year). There were no major methamphetamine seizures in the
first quarter of this year, although there was an 8.8 percent
increase in methamphetamine arrests between January and June
2008. Cannabis resin seizures for January - June were 8.8 kg
approximately 20 percent lower than the same period of the
previous year. During the January through June period a total
of .9 kg of cocaine, and 6.2 kg of opium were seized. There
were no heroin seizures in this period.

Corruption.
7. (SBU) There were no reported cases of Japanese officials
being involved in drug-related corruption in Japan in 2008.
The government does not encourage or facilitate the illicit
production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs,
controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from
illegal drug transactions.

Agreements and Treaties.
8. (SBU) Japan,s parliament failed to agree on an
anti-conspiracy bill for the fifth consecutive year. As a
result, Japan still cannot ratify the UN Convention on
Transnational Organized Crime. Japan is a party to the 1988
UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic
Drugs, the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention, and
the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. An
extradition treaty is in force between the U.S. and Japan,
and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) went into effect
in August 2006, Japan's first MLAT with any country. The MLAT
allows Japan's Ministry of Justice to share information and
cooperate directly with the Department of Justice in
connection with investigations, prosecutions and other
proceedings in criminal matters. The MLAT is being used with
some regularity between Japanese and U.S. law enforcement.
Despite verbal commitments, Japan has still not joined the
International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC).


TOKYO 00003103 003 OF 003


Cultivation/Production.
9. (SBU) Japan is not a significant cultivator or producer of
controlled substances. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and
Welfare's research cultivation program produces a negligible
amount of narcotic substances purely for research purposes.

Drug Flow/Transit.
10. (SBU) Authorities believe that methamphetamine smuggled
into Japan primarily originates in the People's Republic of
China (PRC). This is substantiated by a five-fold increase
in methamphetamine prices around the time of the Beijing
Olympics. Other nations in Asia certainly contribute to the
flow of methamphetamine into Japan, and should not be
discounted. Most of the precursor chemicals for production
appear to originate in China, and most transshipment takes
place through China. Malaysia, Indonesia, and The
Philippines have documented production while evidence for
Taiwan is largely anecdotal. The case for Burma and the
DPRK is less clear. Drugs including methamphetamine often
come from these same source countries. Airport customs
officials occasionally make seizures of cocaine transiting
from the United States. Authorities confirm that
methamphetamine, MDMA, and marijuana are being imported in
large quantities from Canada. Most of the MDMA in Japan
originates in either the Europe or Canada.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction.
11. (SBU) Most drug treatment programs are small and are run
by private organizations, but the government also supports
the rehabilitation of addicts at prefectural (regional)
centers. There are a number of government-funded drug
awareness campaigns designed to inform the public about the
dangers of stimulant use, especially among junior and senior
high school students. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and
Welfare, along with prefectural governments and private
organizations, continues to administer national publicity
campaigns and to promote drug education programs at the
community level.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives.
12. (SBU) U.S. goals and objectives include strengthening law
enforcement cooperation related to controlled deliveries and
drug-related money-laundering investigations; supporting
increased use of existing anticrime legislation and advanced
investigative tools against drug traffickers; and promoting
substantive involvement from government agencies responsible
for financial transaction oversight, and control of
money-laundering operations.

The Road Ahead.
13. (SBU) DEA Tokyo will continue to work closely with its
Japanese counterparts to offer support in conducting
investigations on international drug trafficking,
money-laundering, and other crimes. However, law enforcement
efforts alone, without political backing to change
restrictive Japanese laws, will not make Japan an equal
partner in international counter-narcotics efforts.
SCHIEFFER

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