Japan Sega game sales halted after cocaine arrest

Sega halts Judgment shipments and digital sales in Japan following actor Pierre Taki's arrest [Update]

Besides serving as the voice and model for Judgment's yakuza Kyohei Hamura, Taki also played the voice of Olaf in the Japanese version of Frozen as well as the newly released Kingdom Hearts III.

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. For example, one of Yakuza 4's playable characters was recast when it made its way to the PS4 in Japan, again due to cocaine abuse. He provided a voluntary urine sample, and the test came back positive for the drug. Judgment, which is called Judge Eyes: Shinigami no Yuigon in Japan, features the voice and likeness of Mr Taki - who plays a Yakuza gangster called Kyohei Hamura.

We have received arrest reports and are now confirming the facts, but for the time being we have chose to refrain from shipping and DL sales of the product and posting of product HP etc. All this fuss may seem a bit overblown to Western eyes, particularly given Taki is playing a mob boss in a video game for adults, but Japan has a very stringent anti-drug culture and accompanying laws.

Judgment launched for PlayStation 4 in December 2018 in Japan, and is due out in the Americas and Europe on June 25. The western release has a different cast of voice actors providing the English version of the game.

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It's unclear whether the game will eventually go back on sale, with Sega explaining it's now considering its next move.

A PR company that works with SEGA on "Judgment" did not immediately respond to Variety's request for comment.

"This game Judgment is a spin-off from the Yakuza games series, so now there have been two actors involved with this game series allegedly involved with cocaine", said Jake Adelstein, an investigative journalist based in Tokyo. Before you get all judgey over how Sega's handling Judgement - pun intended - and Japan's cultural outlook on drugs overall, just remember that Roman Polanski was still winning Oscars in 2002.

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