Judgment did seem to be doing well in Japan following positive reviews, but now a spanner has been thrown in the works after one of the game's actors was arrested for drug use. The result is publisher SEGA has removed the game from sale in its native Japan, and has been deleting some of its promotional tweets in relation to the game.
Pierre Taki, whose real name is Masanori Taki, is the actor who plays the role of yakuza Kyohei Hamura in the game. According to The Mainichi, the 51-year-old actor was arrested for use of cocaine yesterday. Following a tip off, the police searched the actor's car and failed to find any evidence of the drug, but then a resulting a urine sample tested positive leading to his arrest. Police are now trying to ascertain how often the actor may use the drug and from where he obtained it. Japan has a strong stance on drug use and the crime can come with a sentence of up to seven years.
Following the arrest of the actor, Judgment's publisher SEGA has issued a statement that the actor's arrest is "highly regrettable". While they attempt to get to the truth behind his arrest, they have decided to remove Judgment from sale and distribution in Japan. The company would like to "apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers and related parties". They've also confirmed that they are deleting tweets relating to the game's sale due to this decision.
The effect of the actor's arrest on the western version of the game is not yet known. According to The Wall Street Journal tech reporter Takashi Mochizuki, the publisher is currently discussing the issue and no decisions have been made yet. However, it wouldn't be unknown for the game to be delayed for the actor to be replaced. Developer Ryu ga Gotoku Studios replaced actor Hiroki Narimiya in Yakuza 4 last year after also faced allegations of cocaine use.
As soon as we hear more, we'll let you know.
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