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Japanese Police Enlist Video Game Lawyer To Fight Youth Marijuana Use

Capcom, the Japanese videogame giant, revealed last week that Ace Attorney will be lending his support to a campaign to stop young people using cannabis. The company announced on Thursday that characters from the popular video game series will be enlisted to fight youth cannabis use under a collaboration with the Osaka Prefectural Police department’s juvenile delinquency prevention awareness campaign.

Since 2013, Capcom has collaborated with Osaka Prefectural Police as well as the police agencies from neighboring prefectures in order to create and implement awareness campaigns about crime prevention. This year, the company received a request from the Osaka Prefectural Police to use the popular Ace Attorney characters for the first time in a campaign to prevent marijuana abuse, “which has seen a conspicuous shift toward younger age groups,” according to a statement from Capcom.

This campaign will include characters drawn by The Great Ace Attorney ChroniclesThe flyers and posters were distributed to Osaka Prefecture’s educational institutions and community police stations. The artwork includes the classic Ace Attorney ‘objection!’ stance as well the word “no” in large red letters.

Japanese Video Game
Courtesy Capcom

“Capcom hopes to support crime prevention activities in Osaka and all of Japan through this program, which will see the production of 6,000 original posters, as well as 4,000 original flyers that will be included with individually wrapped face masks,” the company wrote in a December 9 press release.

The company’s support of the campaign is part of its program to nurture regional revitalization efforts throughout Japan by capitalizing on the power of its intellectual property to engage people in four areas including economic development, cultural awareness, prevention education and election participation. Since 2009, the company has been involved in a variety of initiatives, including concluding the first comprehensive deal between a videogame company and a local authority, working with Kansai prefectural police on prevention activities and raising awareness about gubernatorial election.

Ace Attorney, celebrating its 20th year anniversary, has courtroom battle games in which you play as a defense lawyer fighting for the rights of wrongfully accused people. Capcom’s brand has been growing since the release of the first Ace Attorney game, in October 2001. It leveraged its multi-platform marketing strategies in a variety of mediums, including animated TV shows, stage performances and orchestral concerts. The Ace Attorney series has grown to become one of Capcom’s most popular, with cumulative shipments totaling 8.6 million units as of the end of September.

Japan’s Cannabis

Japan bans cannabis from being imported, exported, grown, sold, purchased, or researched for medical purposes. This is despite the fact that cannabis has been used in Japan for thousands upon thousands of years. Hemp is used in Shinto religious rituals. CBD products without THC are legal since 2016.

Japan is home to some of the harshest penalties for violating marijuana prohibition laws. This includes jail terms of up five years for simple possession. The penalties for marijuana cultivation and sales are more severe than those for possession.

A 2019 survey found that cannabis was second to methamphetamine in Japan as the most commonly used illicit drug. Only 1.8% reported having used cannabis within their lifetimes, while the American average is 44.4%. While reforms of cannabis prohibition laws are being implemented in many countries in Asia, they have not been adopted in the United States. Japan Times reported in 2021 that “political momentum for legalizing cannabis” in the nation “is essentially nonexistent.”