Japan to ban cannabis-like substance found in candy sold in Tokyo

Japan's health minister Takemi Keizo says he intends to soon ban an unregulated cannabis-like substance after it was detected in candy sold in Tokyo.

People in Tokyo and Osaka prefectures have complained of health problems after eating gummies produced by a firm in Osaka.

Last week, the health ministry's Narcotics Control Department inspected stores in the two prefectures.

Takemi told reporters on Monday that an unregulated substance, HHCH, which resembles a substance from cannabis, was detected in gummies sold at a Tokyo store.

He said he is mulling putting the substance on the list of designated drugs as soon as this week and banning its possession, use and distribution within 10 days after that.

The minister said he will also study listing substances with similar chemical compositions comprehensively as designated drugs, as substances other than HHCH also might emerge.

Takemi urged people not to consume the candies, which have become known as "cannabis gummies" because they are dangerous.