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Students on the American football team at Nihon University were allegedly caught with marijuana Wednesday in the latest scandal to hit one of Japan's leading colleges for the sport, media reports said.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police is analyzing plant fragments that were discovered in the dormitories the members reside in as the university further investigates the case.
The university said fragments of the drug were discovered last month as well.
Club activities for the team have been suspended and the college has conducted interviews with coaches, club members and former club members. The Kantoh Collegiate Football Association has acknowledged the seriousness of the recent case and is requesting a report from the Tokyo school.
This isn’t the first time Nihon University has been in the news over students' drug use. A member of the university’s rugby team was arrested and prosecuted for possessing cannabis in 2020. The incident led to a suspension of club activities.
The university’s football team was also hit by a scandal in 2018 due to foul play surrounding an illegal tackle during a match against Kwansei Gakuin University. The incident, which resulted in a suspension from official matches, raised questions about the club's coaching methods as it was suspected that the head coach had ordered it.
Known as a major football powerhouse in eastern Japan, Nihon University’s team has won the annual college football national championship, the Koshien Bowl, 21 times, behind only Kwansei Gakuin University, which is based in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.
Japan maintains strict laws against the possession of marijuana even as its Group of Seven peers have moved to ease laws against the drug.