Yakuza Spin-Off Pulled From Sale In Japan After Drug Scandal

judgement drug scandal

The much-anticipated Yakuza spin-off series from SEGA has hit a bit of a snag in the works. Judgement, due for release in the West later this year, has been pulled from sale in Japan.

One of the voice actors involved in the project, Pierre Taki (the Japanese voice of Frozen's Olaf), has been arrested on suspicion of using or possessing drugs, which is apparently the reason why SEGA has decided to stop sales of Judgement in Japan. Taki has supposedly confessed to using cocaine, and is currently being investigated by the police.

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In an official press release on the SEGA website, it appears that the Judgement drug scandal has resulted in the game being pulled for sale in Japan. Both the digital and physical versions are not going to be available in the country anymore, and the reason given in the press release is that the company had "received reports of an arrest" and that it is in the process of "currently confirming the facts". IGN has also reported that SEGA is no longer going to market the game online, going as far as to remove the Japanese landing page on the company website and old tweets about Judgement.

Judgement drug scandal

The removal of the game from the store currently only affects consumers in Japan. The fact that SEGA is choosing not to market the game because of the Judgement drug scandal might end up affecting the release of the title in the West, which is currently slated for 25 June. It's worth noting perhaps that Judgement is still available in other regional PlayStation stores, and just because the title has been pulled doesn't mean that it's going to stay that way.

As indicated by SEGA, they're still investigating the circumstances around the alleged offending by Pierre Taki, and it could be that Judgement resumes its sales once this investigation has concluded. This wouldn't be the first time that Ryu ga Gotoku Studio has had to deal with allegations of drug use when it comes to a voice actor. Yakuza 4 saw the voice actor behind Tanimura recast after a similar fiasco involving cocaine, so it's entirely possible that the Judgement drug scandal results in a re-release of the game with Taki's character removed. As at this stage, there has been no further comment by SEGA.

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Source: Official SEGA website (via IGN)

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