Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Chasing the Dragon

May 15th, 2009 · No Comments

opiumpoppyToday’s installment of NtHWS Extras is gonna have a past-is-prologue feel, as we look back at Japan’s alleged narcotics profiteering during World War II. We’re accustomed to hearing plenty about the Taliban’s reliance on narco-dollars, but Japan’s wartime opium production is now largely forgotten. At the time, however, American politicians were fond of harping on the Axis nation’s plot to hook our kids on smack, then use the profits to help establish the Co-Prosperity Sphere. From a 1938 Time piece:

Representative Fuller charged that Japan, financially hard-pressed, aims to sell as much opium as possible to Chinese to help pay for the war to conquer China. However, the impoverished Chinese under Japan’s occupation could never pay for such quantities. Japan’s secondary aim, Mr. Fuller said, is to build a factory in Shanghai—as the Japanese have done in Manchukuo—where opium can be converted into heroin, later exported to the U. S. and Europe. Representative Fuller revealed that a Japanese outfit had already made a start on this project by shipping, in 15 months preceding last December, from the Japanese Tientsin concession to the U. S., 1,430 pounds of heroin—two-thirds of the world’s legitimate yearly need, enough to supply 10,000 U. S. drug addicts for a year.

The Japanese were also said to have flood the streets of Nanjing with cut-rate heroin, a move which helped quell any possible resistance to the city’s puppet government.

Whenever Microkhan hears about alleged narco-state, of course, he can’t help but think of present-day North Korea, which appears to earn Kim Jong-Il’s cognac money in part by smuggling high-grade heroin to Australian shores.

(Image via Kenny’s Sideshow)


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