A university professor could face up to ten years in prison for allegedly teaching his students how to make MDMA.
The professor, Tatsunori Iwamura, 61, who teaches at a university in western Japan, reportedly admitted to the allegations and said he did it to help his students’ ‘learning’.
Investigative sources say the pharmaceutical science professor did not have a permit to produce the drug at Matsuyama University in Ehime Prefecture, but allegedly instructed students on how to do so in 2013.
MDMA is a psychoactive drug primarily used in recreational settings, and produces feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth in the user.
The 61-year-old is accused of teaching 11 former students to produce the drug, Kyodo News reports. Four students, along with an assistant professor, have also been referred to prosecutors.
Although the MDMA they allegedly produced has not been found, a trace of another drug was discovered in Iwamura’s laboratory, according to sources.
Tatsuya Mizogami, president of the university, said:
We sincerely apologise for causing major concern to students and their parents.
Mizogami went on to say the university will consider taking measures to prevent similar incidents from happening again, and will take disciplinary action against Iwamura and the assistant professor in accordance with the outcome of the investigation.
As per the Guardian, the investigation reportedly started following a tip-off from someone outside the university, with drug enforcement officers searching Iwamura’s home and laboratory. Officers have been questioning the 61-year-old since January.
Based on Japanese law, which Iwamura and the others allegedly violated, a researcher must obtain a license from regional authorities to manufacture illegal drugs for academic purposes.
Kyodo News cite unnamed sources as saying the pharmaceutical science professor had a license issued by a local government outside Ehime, but it had expired.
Iwamura has reportedly been conducting research on so-called ‘dangerous drugs,’ these sources say, which are defined as those containing chemical agents which can cause hallucinations or have a stimulant effect.
The professor could face up to ten years in prison if he’s found guilty.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).