Coffee in Japan
If you go to a Starbucks coffee shop in Japan [Starbucks is the largest US coffee shop chain] you will find many different kinds of beans but none that is decaffeinated as the company has found it impossible to get Health Ministry approval to import decaffeinated coffee. Decaffeinated coffee is virtually unavailable in Japan! It is hardly surprising in a country that treats the removal of caffeine as a health hazard that the most popular illegal drug is "speed".
Caffeine is also the main active ingredient in numerous so called "health drinks" that sarariman (office workers) use to stay awake while working overtime or on the next day after a long night out drinking.
History of the "drug" coffee
When the Turkish armies were defeated in Vienna and retreated they are said to have left behind bags of coffee beans. Vienna became the location of the first coffee houses in Western Europe and from there the custom spread to other German principalities. Little over 200 years ago some of these states still paid a reward to anyone who informed the authorities about people secretly drinking coffee at home.
Caffeine as a stimulant
When used in high doses caffeine can cause heart problems and, given very high doses, even lead to death. There are cases of people having died from taking too many caffeine pills (which are used for treating migraine headaches or to stay awake). The lethal dose of caffeine is a fairly safe 75mg per kg of body weight. By comparison the lethal dose of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana) is about 13 times higher, around 1000mg per kg of body weight.
Besides caffeine roasted coffee beans also contain about 800 other
chemical substances, some of them only in very small quantities of course.
Of 21 of these substances that have been tested on laboratory animals
16 have been shown to cause
Despite this we generally regard coffee as a very safe drug and do not prohibit its use. By the same standards cannabis should also be legal to use by adults.