SEGA Stops Selling Judgment Due to Cocaine Scandal

Pierre Taki's in-game likeness depicting Kyohei Hamura

Pierre Taki's in-game likeness depicting Kyohei Hamura

Tokyo-based Sega Games Corp., creator of the "Sonic the Hedgehog" games, began selling the game in Japan in December and planned to ship it overseas in June.

This isn't the first time Sega has taken a strong stance against drug use by its employees.

"Sega has received the arrest reports and are now confirming the facts, but 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".

In a tweet, Sega added its tweets related to Judgment have also been deleted.

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. The singer and actor was recently arrested after admitting to using cocaine and testing positive to the drug.

A PR company that works with SEGA on "Judgment" did not immediately respond to Variety's request for comment. Sega has not indicated any other course of action regarding the title at this time.

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This was because the original actor Hiroki Narimiya had retired in 2016, following allegations of cocaine abuse. Taki is one of the stars in PlayStation 4 game "Judgment", which is a spin-off of the popular "Yakuza" series of video games.

"In Japan, that's not a publicity plus".

Side note: if you aren't from Japan, this probably sounds like a lot of trouble over some fairly routine drug charges. It's the kind of charge we wouldn't be surprised to see leveled at a celebrity in the U.S. or United Kingdom (assuming they were prosecuted at all), but drug possession and use is treated as a much more serious offense in Japan.

Even if Mr Taki is recast, it may be hard for Sega to erase him entirely from the virtual world of Judgment.

"With a final product already in circulation in Japan, I can not believe Sega will keep the game hidden away from sight for long".

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