Sega Halts Sales of Judgement in Japan Following Actor's Cocaine Arrest

New Yakuza spin-off yanked from shelves over actor’s arrest

Credit SEGA

Taki voices Kyohei Hamura in the game, and the character also appears to share a likeness in appearance with Taki.

If that were not enough (it's not apparently!), Sega is also deleting tweets about Judgement.

It should be noted that when Sega re-released Yakuza 4 for PlayStation 4 in Japan this January, Masayoshi Tanimura (one of the game's four playable protagonists) was recast to be played by Toshiki Masuda due to original actor Hiroki Narimiya retiring in 2016 following allegations of cocaine abuse. 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.

The move comes as Taki was arrested on drug charges after testing positive for cocaine.

Sega's decision highlights an emerging aspect of video game production, design, and management. "The release of Judgment overseas this year is now under consideration [following the arrest of Pierre Taki]". It is not clear at this time whether or not the halted sales in Japan will affect the release of the game's release elsewhere.

No word on whether western release is affected.

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.

This is not the first time that Sega has changed the course of a game because of an actor's conduct.

"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.

Japan's attitude towards the usage of drugs is vastly different to other parts of the world.

"With a final product already in circulation in Japan, I can not believe Sega will keep the game hidden away from sight for long".

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