A Japanese manufacturer of gummy candies has expressed regret that its products have caused some people to feel sick, despite its recommendation that minors avoid them.
Police say more than 20 people fell ill in Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture this year after eating gummy candies produced by the company. Many of those people were taken to hospital.
The candy package's label mentions HHCH, a substance that is not regulated by Japanese law. It resembles cannabis. Police have been analyzing the gummies.
The Osaka-based firm held a news conference on Friday in the western Japanese city.
The company said it began producing the gummies in April to help with mood improvement and relaxation. The products are sold online and at certain stores. The firm explained that the products contain HHCH procured from a health ministry-licensed importer.
The company said that when selling the products, it makes sure that the buyers are aged 20 or older.
It also said that it received around 10 reports of people experiencing sickness, such as vomiting, after eating the candies.
The company's representative director Matsumoto Daisuke said that its website explicitly advises minors against consuming the gummies.
He said the distribution of the products to minors is unacceptable, and that the entire industry should be careful to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Matsumoto referred to remarks made by health minister Takemi Keizo earlier in the day.
Takemi had said the ministry will consider banning sales and possession of the substance and similar ones.
Matsumoto expressed his opposition to the idea, saying additional regulations would lead to the creation of new substances.