“I bought it from a foreigner”
If you don’t know, you don’t need to, and if you know, you don’t need reminding of the details of this week’s Japanese celebrity drugs busts.
Apart than the subsequent media frenzy, the other entirely predictable aspect was when Noriko Sakai is said to have told police in questioning –
I bought it from a foreigner
And of course the police informed the media, and the media informed everyone.
This is a common… what is it, an excuse? A diversion? Whatever it is, search any drugs arrest story and this line crops up with annoying frequency.
The suspect, under questioning, is obviously trying to protect the friend or trusted source who they usually buy their drugs from. Does anyone really believe that every time someone with a drug habit, particularly a celebrity, wants to conduct a bit of illicit business, they go out and take the risk of buying from a complete stranger?
It’s become a fashionable excuse among those arrested for drug offences to cover for their supplier by fingering an anonymous foreigner.
It’s clearly a diversionary tactic, so why do the police feel the need to pass it on to the media, who in turn take great pleasure in broadcasting it to the nation?
Its effect is two-fold. All of us foreigners are caught in the blast, suspicion lands on all of us – the implication is that a random foreigner being a druggie is entirely believable, even to be expected.
But the main agenda is to keep the middle classes safe in the delusion that the drug problem is not a Japanese problem, but a foreign one. After all, I’ve never heard a report saying “The dealer was Japanese” – the question of nationality, or more precisely the foreignness, is only deemed worthy of report if the suspect claims to have bought from a foreigner.
Anyone who believes that the vast majority of Japanese drug users are not buying from their Japanese friends, or from trusted Japanese sources, is naive in the extreme. But the media portrayal of these cases might lead the unthinking to believe otherwise.
It’s probably true of most developed countries that most drugs that are abused recreationally are brought in from abroad. And it’s a fair bet that the vast majority of the illegal drugs business conducted in Japan is controlled by Japanese. Why on earth wouldn’t it be?
But if you’re a fretful, easily scared, middle class Japanese, the media would like you to believe that the nation is an innocent victim of an unopposed army of foreign pushers and importers, which it most certainly is not.