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Drugs Put a Stop to Judgment Sales in Asia

14 March 2019

Pierre Taki is the voice behind Kyohei Hamura in Judgment, but he's also a member of the pop duo Denki Groove. Taki also plays Frozen's Olaf in the Japanese edition of Kingdom Hearts III, so we'll see if Square Enix feel the need to take similar action themselves. SEGA already admitted it's deleting tweets related to the game in addition to the sales blackout. It happened a scant few months ago with the remaster of Yakuza 4, after Hiroki Narimiya was allegedly photographed in 2016 using... cocaine again?

Taki was arrested for alleged cocaine use which, given Japan's extremely tough drug laws, could result in a seven-year prison sentence. Following a tip off, the police searched the actor's auto and failed to find any evidence of the drug, but then a resulting a urine sample tested positive leading to his arrest. 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.

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At least for now, it seems like Judgment may be done for in Japan, but what about the game's upcoming Western release? "For the time being, we will voluntarily refrain from shipments and digital sales of Judgment, as well as from things like posting 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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This is not the first time that Sega has changed the course of a game because of an actor's conduct. In the re-release of Yakuza 4, main character Masoyashi Tanimura was recast following the same allegations.

Japan's attitude towards the usage of drugs is vastly different to other parts of the world. "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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Drugs Put a Stop to Judgment Sales in Asia