Reports have revealed that illicit drug trade is expanding in Japan, surpassing China in terms of smuggling activity.

The price for stimulant drugs—such as amphetamine and methamphetamine—smuggled into Japan reached 80 times as prices in China, according to the National Police Agency.

In the six months through June, police tackled 48 cases of smuggle stimulants, from 23 countries and regions.

More than 5,100 people were arrested on suspicion of possessing or using stimulants over the same period. Police also seized 550 kilograms of stimulants, a relatively large amount even on an annual basis.

Police believe organized gangs are involved with overseas crime rings.

The list of countries supplying the fledgling drug market in Japan is also growing.

In 2011, Mexico emerged as the primary source of drugs, although the country remained outside the top five until the previous year.

With the influx of drug shipments, prices among one of the highest in the world have been pushed down.

Regulated stimulants were worth 70,000 yen ($700) per gram on the street in 2012, down from 90,000 yen in 2009 and 80,000 in 2010, according to the NPA.

“Japan is naturally a target for crime syndicates, both at home and abroad, because stimulants sell in large volumes and at high prices,” a source said.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image: Radspunk/Creative Commons