Sega pulls Judgment from sale in Japan following drug arrest

Judgement

Voice actor Pierre Taki plays the role of Kyohei Hamura, the captain of the Matsugane family in Judgment.

With the intensity of social stigma surrounding drug use in Japan likely providing pressure, SEGA has opted to not only halt sales of the game, but also delete tweets surrounding it. While Japan has a robust domestic show business industry, the country tends to be far less lenient regarding celebrity drug use than many other countries, and whenever a well-known entertainer gets in trouble for narcotics use or possession, media distributors are quick to distance themselves from the figure at the center of the scandal. According to news reports, police searched Taki's vehicle and house based on tips, and no drugs were found, but Taki himself tested positive for cocaine use.

Judgment was first released in Japan last December, under the title Judge Eyes. An official news release from Sega, translated by Gematsu, states, "Sega has received the arrest reports and are now confirming the facts, but for the time being, we will voluntarily refrain from shipments and digital sales of [Judgment], as well as from things like posting on the product's homepage". A grim situation all round, but what of Judgment's western release?

Judgement

On Twitter, Sega said it would also be deleting marketing tweets about the game. Sega did not immediately respond to a BBC question about whether the controversy would affect the United Kingdom version of the game. In the re-release of Yakuza 4, main character Masoyashi Tanimura was recast following the same allegations. It's the kind of charge we wouldn't be surprised to see leveled at a celebrity in the United States or UK (assuming they were prosecuted at all), but drug possession and use is treated as a much more serious offense in Japan. Taki is one of the stars in PlayStation 4 game "Judgment", which is a spin-off of the popular "Yakuza" series of video games.

Sega already has seen an issue with drug use in Yakuza games.

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