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UPDATE 22ND MARCH 2019: SEGA Europe have confirmed that the character model and Japanese voice for the character of Kyohei Hamura will be adjusted for the Western release of Judgment.
The replacement was confirmed in a Tweet from SEGA Europe.
SEGA did not provide a clear reason for the change, simply citing “unforseen circumstances”, but the Japanese voice actor for Kyohei Hamura was recently arrested on drug charges.
We will keep this story updated if anything else develops.
Source: SEGA Europe.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
Judgment, Sega’s newest entry in the Yakuza universe, has been removed from physical and digital stores following the arrest of actor Pierre Taki.
Taki plays a key role in Judgment as Kyohei Hamura, the captain of the Tojo Clan’s Matsihame family.
The actor was arrested for the alleged use of cocaine. Pierre was tested for cocaine use through a urine test which came out positive. Possession or use of cocaine in Japan carries a prison sentence of up to seven years.
Japan has some of the strictest drug laws in the world. Actress Saya Takagi, who was caught with cannabis, saw her immediately removed from all TV schedules are a result. She was also publicly shamed.
Currently, all mentions of Judgment have been scrubbed from Sega’s Japanese Twitter account. The game has halted sales both physically and digitally.
Sega already has seen an issue with drug use in Yakuza games. In the re-release of Yakuza 4, main character Masoyashi Tanimura was recast following the same allegations.
Hopefully, Taki’s drug use doesn’t affect the upcoming Western release of Judgment. It’s obvious that Sega is taking a huge western push with this upcoming PS4 exclusive and, as someone who is incredibly excited for it, it looks amazing.
Judgment is slated to release June 25th on PS4. Whether this situation affects the western release is unknown.