crime

Japanese politician arrested in China on drugs charges

54 Comments

A 70-year-old local Japanese politician has been arrested in China on drugs charges, officials said Friday, in a case that could draw the death penalty.

The septuagenarian, who was detained in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, had three kilos of what are suspected to be illegal stimulants, Japanese officials said, citing Chinese authorities.

On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed that Takuma Sakuragi was detained on Oct 31 at Baiyun airport "for carrying drugs with him".

"He is now being detained in the detention center of Guangdong province," Hong added.

Officials in the city of Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture, said Sakuragi is a city councillor who was in China for his private trading business.

A council spokesman said Sakuragi has denied the charges.

Four Japanese nationals were executed in China in 2010 for carrying illegal drugs.

Possession of 50 or more grams of so-called stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine can draw the death penalty in China, which is known for its harsh drug laws.

Japanese media quoted a longtime associate of Sakuragi as saying the five-term city politician may have been framed due to his hardline stance on diplomacy with neighbors China and South Korea.

Tokyo is embroiled in separate territorial rows with Beijing and Seoul which routinely accuse Japan of failing to atone for its military aggression during the first half of the 20th Century.

"I am very surprised (at the arrest)", the suspect's associate Kenji Sasaki told Japan's Jiji Press news agency. "There might be some political angle to this case."

© (c) 2013 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

54 Comments
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It sounds strange to say the least. He may well have been framed. Or, he may be into something that no one knew about. China should ensure that a thorough investigation be done in cooperation with J-police since if he is guilty there are going to be leads and indicators in Japan .

-5 ( +11 / -15 )

If this happened in Japan, they would return the drugs to him, apologize, and ask him politely to stop.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He's guilty as hell. He told someone from the Japanese consulate "I just accepted someone else's suitcase. I'm innocent" http://www.mbs.jp/news/jnn_2055122_zen.shtml

1 ( +5 / -4 )

3kg of ice... that's worth about $600k USD. I wander who his supplier is.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Was the ice blue?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Goals0Nov. 16, 2013 - 07:58AM JST

He told someone from the Japanese consulate "I just accepted someone else's suitcase. I'm innocent" http://www.mbs.jp/news/jnn2055122zen.shtml

That excuse doesn't work in Japan, Supreme Court ruling this month, so why in the hell should it work in China?

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Ossan: "It sounds strange to say the least. He may well have been framed. Or, he may be into something that no one knew about. China should ensure that a thorough investigation be done in cooperation with J-police since if he is guilty there are going to be leads and indicators in Japan ."

Ahhh... and the bombast suddenly goes down a notch. He should be dealt with according to Chinese law. Why would someone frame some 70 year old loser? In any case, whatever the outcome this is going to be politicized to the extreme.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

What ever it is or how it came about this guy is ruined now guilty or innocent he will never recover.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I've never heard the term "septuagenarian" before. Apparently they aren't as newsworthy as octogenarians.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"his hardline stance on diplomacy with neighbors China and South Korea."

So stupid to travel to there. Lucky for him he already lived life expectancy. Also if he is drug trafficker, it is great news for japan. Japan have less drug supply plus saved bundle on catching and prosecuting etc.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Why would someone frame some 70 year old loser?

Have you not been watching China-Japan diplomatic relations?

2 ( +9 / -7 )

I wouldnt trust the Chinese government's claims.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Why would someone frame some 70 year old loser?

More to the point, why would someone frame some 70-year-old loser from a "city" in the middle of nowhere with a pop. of only 139,000?

I think it's telling that that he was in China for his private trading business, not on official political business.

I wonder who asked him to carry the suitcase? I suspect a honey trap. After all, there's no fool like an old fool!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Nessie: "Have you not been watching China-Japan diplomatic relations?"

I have indeed, and that's why this is somewhat baffling. The guy is a nobody, from nowhere. To stir the pot over someone as little as this 70 year old man is not worth it. Less with the conspiracy theories and more with the facts, I say.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Officials in the city of Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture, said Sakuragi is a city councillor who was in China for his private trading business.

I'll bet he was.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ossan,

This does sound strange. 3kg is quite heavy. When someone gives you a package weighing 3kg. Wouldn't you open it up or at least ask what's in it?

And being a shrewd Japanese politician/businessman, 70yo no less in experience in life as a Japanese politician, wouldn't it make sense to do his own due diligence to at least check the content in the packages?

Forget he's Japanese, if I ask you to hold this suitcase for me, wouldn't you at least look at what's in it?

Politicize over 3kg of ice? That sounds like some paranoid conspiracy theory nut would say.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

highball7

It depends on how it was handed to him and more importantly how long it was in his possession before the police walked up to him and asked what is in the bag.

Imagine this a guy comes up to him and ask him to hold his bag while he take out his phone and as soon as he hold the bag the police walks up and ask what's in the bag. He tell the police that it is not his and points to the man standing next to him that it is his bag in which the man holding a phone in his had tells the police that the bag is not his and adds that he just got there.

In China a frame-up like this can easily happen.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

In any case it's entirely the man's fault, framed or not. If he was framed, then he left his bag unattended or not properly sealed. If he accepted a package without knowing its contents, he's a moron. If he had been caught in Japan at customs AFTER the trip and picking up his check-in luggage, I could understand how someone could have slipped something in without him noticing. But as it is, no. 100% the man's fault, and sadly I don't think Chinese justice for ministers who commit crime don't include suspended sentences.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

smithinjapan Love to hear your conviction to what you had just wrote IF and WHEN you get framed in the same fashion.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

SamuraiBlue,

Your scenario is even stranger. He's Japanese, not Chinese. So a Chinese man is going to go up to a 70yo man to ask him to hold or look after a bag when he takes out his phone? This bag is a suitcase. He can't put the case next to his legs or hold it between his legs?

He has to ASK a stranger, a foreigner stranger who doesn't speak Chinese to assist? Especially a 70yo man? And this Japanese POLITICIAN oblige? In what language? Does he speak Chinese? English?

What I stated is base on the FACTS given by the article. What you're stating is a fantasy that more than likely would not happen even on a regular daily basis. Unless his cell phone is a brick that needed both hands to handle, your premise is quite far-fetched under any reasonable standard. It could happen, but so does eclipses.

In Japan or any other country, a frame-up of any kind can easily happen as well. And you mean to tell me the Chinese gov't is willing to jeopardize its international reputation to frame a guy, a nobody like him over 3kg of ice?

If that sounds plausible to you, I got a rainbow filled house built with skittles to sell you.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Hmmmm..... Bet he has ties to those idiots in the black vans and he asked some of them to frame,beat up or kill some of the local Chinese businessmen. The word gets back and the Triads return the favour.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Here comes again, Japanese act in the first half of the 20th century. Is it necessary to remind?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I hope this old crook likes his rice porridge - that's all he is gonna be eating from now on!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

China will want to swap Islands for this guys... I highly doubt a 70 year old guy would know what drugs are

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Once in Australia, a group of Japanese were framed. The main reason was their poor Englishy and poor interpretor there. so, we never know this one. He may be framed by someone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Police Questioner. "What is the name of the person who asked you to carry the bag?"

Suspect. " I don't know. or I don't remember."

Case closed.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

smithinjapan

In any case it's entirely the man's fault, framed or not.

So smith you want to tie the knot in the rope too? You have done a pretty good job on convicting him so far, what about hearing the whole story before hanging the guy with your as usual irrational judgement?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Wow... There could be a chance the guy is innocent. Theres a saying, innocent until proven guilty.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

He thought his friend said "Would you please carry this 3kg of Rice", when his friend actually said "Ice". Its not his fault, his hearing aid was malfunctioning. And it is quite possibly a set up: usually there are multiple mules for any one international deal. One of mules can be sacrificed with a deliberate tip off to keep police busy and so keep the others safe.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Never travel into a Communist country if you expect fair play & justice. There are many Taiwanese who have been set up and executed in the PRC.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Am I the only one not surprised by this?

Getting into politics takes a lot of money. Staying in politics takes a lot of money. Many politicians engage in shady deals to raise campaign funds, like kickbacks on city contracts and selling votes... I do not find it at all surprising that this politician was a little more direct in his fund raising tactics. He's probably not normally inspected because of his political connections and prestige and thought he could take advantage of this to import drugs.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

just a diversion tactic to make you think something else and put shame to them while making them seem harmless or foolish. drunks do it on the street all the time. this guy is 70 yrs old, he lived his life. its like some students who study English here. You can credit them for their efforts on studying English at that age, but in all reality, what is this person going to do with it? Not a damn thing? Instead, there should be a nice looking 20 something year old girl in the lesson, looking to be with a guy like me to help save the world. mo-tai-nai.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Am I the only one not surprised by this?

more likely is one of his yak friends asked him if he could pick up a little package for him while he was in china on business....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Aichi prefecture is not neighbor of China, He is only a city council man Not even in politics of Prefecture. 3 kg is not light weight. China wouldn't know his attitude toward China, The article does not state what kind of business he has in China, 70 years old is not much old in Japan. He is not on wheel chair. Look at map of Aichi in Japan. His business in China while bad mouthing China?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

In Okinawa, 70 yrs old can be called as teens. Unless someone who is more than 100 yrs old, justice will be prevailed. In Singapore anyone carrying certain amount of drugs will be hanged whether he or she is Japanese or Taiwanese or Chinese. Nationality is not the issue for drug trafficking not only in China but also in many parts of SE Asia.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

smithinjapanNov. 16, 2013 - 09:18AM JST "Ossan: "It sounds strange to say the least. He may well have been framed. Or, he may be into something that no one knew about. China should ensure that a thorough investigation be done in cooperation with J-police since if he is guilty there are going to be leads and indicators in Japan ."

Ahhh... and the bombast suddenly goes down a notch.

Yes, with your interjection.

He should be dealt with according to Chinese law.

He was arrested in China, why shouldn't he be?

Why would someone frame some 70 year old loser?

Why would a 70 year old man active in local politics and known to the public risk being a mule in a country that has severe laws like China?

In any case, whatever the outcome this is going to be politicized to the extreme.

That's right, without further information we are all speculating, with some of us hanging the man already.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What was he doing in China in the first place?? Private business???

1 ( +3 / -2 )

SamuraiBlue: smithinjapan Love to hear your conviction to what you had just wrote IF and WHEN you get framed in the same fashion.

IF and WHEN? That almost sounds like a threat. Just out of curiosity, were you this quick to defend Robert Geoffrey Sawyer when his acquittal was overturned and he ended up facing 10 years in a Japanese prison for the same crime or is your indignity mostly a "samurai" thing?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Obviously the Communist are on a Witch-hunt.

Seriously, do you think a 70 Year Old Politician would be trying to traffic dope?

Ridiculous like 99% of everything that goes on in China.

Well Ms Kennedy, here's your first assignment, help the Japanese Ambassador to China rescue an innocent politician who's been caught up in a Communist Anti-Japanese Witch-hunt!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Jeez some people here are way too paranoid for their own good.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

smithinjapanNov. 16, 2013 - 12:38PM JST

In any case it's entirely the man's fault, framed or not. If he was framed, then he left his bag unattended or not properly sealed.

I think it is not allowed to lock suitcases.

Other news report says that he was arrested when he was leaving China for Nagoya via Shang Hai. The drug must be put into his suitcase in China.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

saketown: Well Ms Kennedy, here's your first assignment, help the Japanese Ambassador to China rescue an innocent politician who's been caught up in a Communist Anti-Japanese Witch-hunt!

Why? This is between Japan and China and has nothing to do with the States. Surely Japan's ambassador to China can handle it without intervention from Ms. Kennedy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sakuragi was a member of the Unification church in 2002. http://web.archive.org/web/20030316193906/http://www.ifvoc.gr.jp/new_page_592.htm

Be ready for some surprises as this story develops.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No matter what, the death penalty is to an extreme for this, just like anything and everything else in China. Why is China still in the mists of the 16th century? I though they were suppose to be on the verge of becoming a developed nation? So much for that fantasy!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Where this narco came? What is his private business? Quite heavy quantity. as a simple courier.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No matter what, the death penalty is to an extreme for this< So you don't mind your kids or grand children smoking drug of any kind, respect other country law, just like in Japan visitor will try to respect the country law..

3KG can destroy how many families life, go for it if you think it is alright for your family, most Asia countries has the death penalty, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, i have lost friends who took hard drugs, lsd, pure opium and more, you get high and you don't know what you do, walk out of tall building thinking you are flying, you won't even know what you do the last 24 hrs till someone told you, been there done that, it is through education teaching children drugs are bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The latest on this story is that Sakuragi had a suitcase of shoe samples that he'd received from the wife of a Nigerian business acquaintance. This is where the drugs were. http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/news/131118/chn13111815160011-n1.htm

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Now if he can prove it that it wasn't his in the first place, Did he not know ,don't do any favor for any stranger even if it is a small purse, you put yourself in a whole lot of trouble, more over you are a politician that goes double jeopardy for you.

You have your name smear, even if you did not do it , peoples will still think and look at you differently., it is human nature.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Okay really, what 70 year old Japanese business man would go to the PRC and buy to bring to Japan?

This smells more like a set up than a drug bust.

If you travel to a nation like that make sure keep an eye on your own luggage at all times and inspect them before you depart for the airport.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Someone mention he was hand over a box from his Business Acquaintance Wife, blame yourself for being too trusting if he were being use as a mule.

Guilty as of now, till he can prove that the box was handed to him, he was caught with the drugs, maybe he should get his lawyer to ask for a cctv replay, they should have it in the airport.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yeah just saw the news reports on this alleged Nigerian friend, all I can say is what a foolish old man.

By now surely you would have heard of all the Nigerian scams, the Nigerians hanging around roppongi and Shinjuku drugging scamming and bilking victims and surely you wouldn't trust one with a suitcase when travelling, jeeez some people are dumber than dumb, sorry for you and your stupidity Mr. Hope the courts show you some leaneance, may they have mercy on your poor old dumb ass.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@smith

If he was framed, then he left his bag unattended or not properly sealed

And this seems to be justification enough for executing people in some countries. Whoever heard of a elderly person being forgetful / confused about their baggage? Hang him already!!

The death penalty is immoral. Modern anti-drug laws are stupid, hypocritical and provide an easy career path for gangsters.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Peoples who transport or let themselves be a drug mule don't deserve to be pity at all, go do the math 3 kg of of any kind of drugs ( opium, heroin, cocaine, bashuko etc) how many families are destroy because of them.

You want to get rich quick pay for it, knowing you are taking a risk, but still want to do it got yourself to blame and no one else.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Anything to keep the cats scratching in the sand box.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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