“Customer growth is stronger now compared to immediately after the quake,” said G, an organized crime group affiliate familiar with the illegal drug market. The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995 proved there was a good post-disaster market for illegal drugs among temporary housing residents and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a result, when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, dealers from major urban centers swiftly loaded up and headed north to disaster-afflicted areas in the Tohoku region in search of quick profits.
According to G, “First on the scene were the stimulant drug pushers who began selling out of their cars on the back streets and in pachinko (pinball) parlor parking lots. Customers were wide-ranging, from high school students and young bar hostesses to grandfathers and grandmothers. Inferior grades of speed which couldn’t be sold in Tokyo and Osaka were offloaded there.”