On March 12, officials from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's Narcotics Control Department searched the home of veteran actor and musician Pierre Taki. According to The Mainichi, the 51-year-old actor was arrested for use of cocaine yesterday.
The effect of the actor's arrest on the western version of the game is not yet known. Among the villains the player character goes up against is Kyohei Hamura, leader of the Matsugane-gumi yakuza syndicate, who is voiced by, and looks like, Taki. It's set in Kamurocho, the fictional red light district based on Tokyo's Kabukicho, where the Yakuza franchise is also set. "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. We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause for customers, as well as the parties involved". A year later, copies of anime Kill Me Baby were pulled from circulation when voice actress Ai Takabe was arrested for cocaine possession.
Soon after the arrest, Sega issued a statement addressing Taki's arrest and announcing plans to stop all sales of Judgment.
Sega's decision highlights an emerging aspect of video game production, design, and management.
Judgment launched in December in Japan, but Sega has now halted digital sales and physical game shipments in that country, as actor Pierre Taki, who plays Yakuza boss Kyohei Hamura in the game, has been arrested for cocaine use. Americans and Europeans aren't as scandalized by drug use, so could the game's upcoming release still happen? The publisher has even gone as far as to delete its own tweets referencing the game. 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.
It's unclear whether the game will eventually go back on sale, with Sega explaining it's now considering its next move.
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