Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Narcotics Control Department to reform one of the largest organizations in history to strengthen crackdowns

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Narcotics Control Department to be the largest organizational reorganization in history to strengthen the crackdown October 2 at 4:53 a.m.

In response to the rapid increase in illegal drug smuggling cases, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Narcotics Control Department has decided to launch one of the largest organizational reorganizations in history, including the establishment of a new executive post next fiscal year to coordinate smuggling investigations across the country.
Last year, a total of 595 people were arrested for smuggling illegal drugs such as stimulants and cannabis, a record high, up nearly 60 percent from the previous year. For this reason, in order to strengthen the crackdown, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Narcotics Control Department decided to conduct a major reorganization in the next fiscal year, according to interviews with stakeholders.

Among them, an executive post was established at the Kanto Shinetsu Welfare Bureau in Tokyo, second only to the director of the Drug Enforcement Department, who became the center of enforcement officers nationwide to coordinate investigations into smuggling cases.

In addition, the “smuggling control section chief” who investigates smuggling cases on a full-time job will be placed at the Kyushu Health and Welfare Bureau, and a “smuggling officer” who is responsible for cooperation with customs and police will be newly placed at the Hokkaido Welfare Bureau, etc.

In addition, information technology analysis specialists, which analyze information terminals such as smartphones used in smuggling businesses, will also be placed nationwide.

A total of 23 new posts will be established, the largest ever for an organizational reorganization.

What is the reality of illegal drug smuggling?

The number of illegal drugs seized is also on the increase.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, last year, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Narcotics Control Department, police, customs, and the Japan Coast Guard seized 2649.7 kilograms of stimulants and 639.9 kilograms of cocaine, the highest number ever. At the end of the sale price, the total price of stimulants is more than 169.58 billion yen, and cocaine is more than 12.79 billion yen.

Smuggling is used for social media and highly anonymous sites called the “dark web” on the Internet. Because it can be easily purchased and received wherever you are, the scope of the investigation often crossed the jurisdiction of the Health and Welfare Bureau, which is the nationwide base of the Drug Control Department, which makes the investigation difficult.

For this reason, the reorganization has the intention of strengthening the investigation by aggregating information on investigations across the country and deepening cooperation.

In addition, according to investigators, the spread of the new coronavirus has temporarily reduced the movement of smuggling, but the Narcotics Control Department and others are on high alert as it is likely to increase due to recoil.