KANAGAWA (TR) – Kanagawa Prefectural Police have arrested a 22-year-old male university student over the alleged import of the gas nitrous oxide, a designated medicine commonly known as “laughing gas,” reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 25).
In December, 2017, Yosuke Matsushita, a resident of Machida City, Tokyo, is suspected of importing 408 canisters of nitrous oxide from the Netherlands through the international mail.
According to police, a staff member at a Kawasaki City branch of Yokohama Customs discovered the contraband. Thus far, Matsushita has been accused of importing two of the canisters on December 17.
Matsushita, who is in custody for violating the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law regarding the importation of a designated medicine, admits to the allegations. “Since it was fun to inhale [the gas] with a friend in China, I wanted to use it in Japan. So I bought it online,” the suspect was quoted by police.
According to police, each canister contains 10 grams of the gas, which is used as anesthesia by medical professionals. One canister sells for about 10,000 yen in Japan.
In 2016, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare designated nitrous oxide as a medicine due to the intoxicating effect it has on the user.