High schoolers from rural Kochi Prefecture wanted to live the high life.

Japan takes a famously hardline stance against drug possession and use. In 1980, Paul McCartney famously spent over a week in a narcotics detention center, and was then unceremoniously deported, after arriving at Narita Airport with marijuana in his luggage. More recently, Paris Hilton also only got as far as Narita in 2010 before immigration officials told her to hop right back on a plane and leave, as she wouldn’t be allowed into Japan as a result of pleading guilty to drug possession charges in the U.S.

So if being an international celebrity doesn’t earn you any extra leeway, merely wanting to be like a foreign recording star won’t either.

On May 11, the Kochi Prefectural Police announced that 12 people stand accused of marijuana distribution and possession charges, with six of them being boys who attend high school in Kochi. Also involved were a 17-year-old from neighboring Ehime Prefecture and a 57-year-old resident of Tokyo’s Suginami Ward who’s a member of a yakuza criminal organization.

Police say the 57-year-old was the initial supplier of the drugs, with the 17-year-old acting as a middleman. The six Kochi high schoolers became acquainted with the 17-year-old at concerts and music events that took place in the spring and summer of 2017, purchasing the drug from him multiple times. The six boys kept the drugs they purchased in their homes, and are suspected of further distributing it to others, although whether they sold it or gave it away is unclear.

Investigators also say that the 57-year-old supplier would mail his shipments to Ehime with the packages addressed to the 17-year-old’s father, which suggests that he also may have been complacent with the operation.

During questioning, the six Kochi boys described their motivation as “We wanted to be like foreign musicians, and so we smoked weed.”

While the popular music scene outside Japan is much more open and accepting of drug use than the J-pop sphere, it’s still a little surprising that the teens would skip over the whole playing instruments/singing aspect of being a musician and jump straight to the party/get high part. You could call it an immaturely simplistic interpretation of the recording star lifestyle, but that same immaturity also allowed them to escape adult-level criminal charges, though the Kochi kids are now all on probation, and their 17-year-old hookup has been sent to reform school.

Source: NHK News Web via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso