Japan's Biggest Web Forum "Facilitating" Drug TraffickingSOnline in Japan, the vast majority of game news first hits 2ch. And it's not just games—so much news is shared through 2ch threads. It's a wealth of information. It's a wealth of rumors. Apparently, it's also a wealth of drugs.


Last December, word broke that 2ch could be covered in illicit substances. There were stories of coded lingo and online transactions, white "shiro" (white) referring to amphetamines and "yasai" (vegetables) referring to marijuana.

Of course, massive bulletin boards like 2ch cannot monitor everything that happens on its forums. The rub is that, according to Japan's National Police Agency, 2ch ignored 97 percent of request to delete iffy posts. Rub, indeed.

"With such posts left on its bulletin board, the site is indirectly facilitating the creation of an environment in which drugs can easily be traded," said the NPA (via Kyodo).

2ch has its own criteria for deleting posts, and it has its own team of moderators to monitor content. Typically, however, it removes posts that it deems slanderous or ones it legally must remove.

And the takedown rate at 2ch is probably so low, because that's exactly what 2ch doesn't do—take down threads. It's part of 2ch's DNA. It's part of what makes 2ch so different from many mainstream Japanese sites, which quickly cave when threatened.

"We don't believe all of 2channel is bad," the NPA removed. "But there may be blind spots. We just want them to make improvements."

The "improvements" sound worrying, however. When the police get involved, where does it stop? Is more censorship on 2ch the answer? That will only push drug traffickers to other sites and to other tech. There really isn't an easy answer for 2ch or the cops.

Going after 2ch for facilitating drug trafficking is a Pandora's Box. The same argument could be made for phone carriers or email provides—both of which, yes, can facilitate the sale of drugs.

Sometimes "shiro" is just white, and sometimes "yasai" is just vegetables. And sometimes, they're not.


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