Drugs Put a Stop to Judgment Sales in Asia

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Taki served as both model and voice of Judgment's yakuza Kyohei Hamura. On that same note, Taki is also the voice of comic relief snowman Olaf in the Japanese-language dub of Disney's Frozen, and also reprises the role for Square Enix's multi-franchise crossover Kingdom Hearts III, and while neither Disney nor Square Enix have said they'll be suspending sales just yet, if you've been thinking about picking up the Japanese release of either, now's probably the time.

In a tweet, Sega added its tweets related to Judgment have also been deleted. Developer Ryu ga Gotoku Studios replaced actor Hiroki Narimiya in Yakuza 4 a year ago after also faced allegations of cocaine use. Japan has incredibly strict drug laws, and as Kotaku noted, Sega's decision isn't unprecedented: Universal Music Japan once stopped selling a pop duo's music after one of them was arrested for the possession of MDMA. No drugs were found, but the actor's urine later tested positive for cocaine.

Judgment was first released in December 2018 in Japan as Judge Eyes. Following the arrest, SEGA issued the following statement concerning the title's availability in Japan: "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".

At the moment it is unclear how long this suspension of the game's sales will last or whether it'll be permanent, but Sega has engaged in a veritable campaign to remove as many traces of it as possible.

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Sega will make an announcement regarding its future course of action as soon as a decision is made.

Japan's attitude towards the usage of drugs is vastly different to other parts of the world. Narimiya retired from the industry shortly after these allegations cropped up, and his likeness and voice were erased from the new version of Yakuza 4, which delayed the game's release in Japan by three months (it's yet to be released over here).

According to Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki, Sega is discussing how this will affect plans for Judgment's western release. "Video game fans are nothing if not diligent, and bootleg translations of foreign games crop up fairly frequently", says games journalist Elliot Gardner.

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