TOKYO: The number of Japanese juveniles under the age of 20 arrested for cannabis-related offences reached an all-time high last year, reported Xinhua citing a police report.

Japanese police arrested or took other enforcement action against 1,222 people aged under 20 in cannabis cases in 2023, up 34 per cent year on year, according to a report released by the National Police Agency.

While the number of juveniles apprehended for cannabis offences saw a decrease in 2022 for the first time in nine years, the trend reversed in 2023 with a notable surge.

Among different age groups, there was a sharp increase in arrests among those aged 16 years old, peaking around the age of 20 and gradually declining thereafter, according to the report.

The agency attributed the results to a lack of knowledge of the harmful effects of cannabis and the ease of obtaining such substances, Japanese news agency Jiji Press reported.

Furthermore, there has been an uptick in the crackdown on narcotics and methamphetamine cases.

The number of arrests in narcotics cases doubled from the previous year, totalling 113 individuals, while 106 juveniles were arrested in methamphetamine-related cases, the report showed.

According to the agency, it will boost efforts to raise awareness of such risks mainly among high school students. - Bernama-XINHUA