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47 trainee police in Japan punished for underage drinking, smoking

Photo taken Oct. 22, 2021, shows a police academy in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture. (Kyodo)

KOBE (Kyodo) -- Forty-seven trainee officers of a police academy in western Japan have been subjected to up to three months of disciplinary action for underage drinking and smoking or facilitating such behavior, local police said Friday.

    Disciplinary action has been taken against 33 underage students who drank alcohol in groups of up to five in dormitory rooms at the academy in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture, between July 21 and 24, eight of whom also smoked between July 11 and 27, according to the prefectural police. The legal drinking and smoking age in Japan is 20.

    An additional 14 adult students have been punished for providing the minors with the alcohol and cigarettes after purchasing them online, and joining them in the drinking and smoking during this period.

    The incident was discovered following reports from outside the academy.

    On Aug. 17, the students who had been drinking were punished to two months of disciplinary action and those who had also been smoking to three months.

    During this period, the students will engage in cleaning up school facilities on their days off. They will, however, still attend classes on weekdays so their scheduled graduation in January will not be affected.

    Drinking had been banned in the dormitory to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but the ban was lifted on July 21 to allow students of legal age to drink in the dormitory lobby.

    A prefectural police official said the students will be given thorough guidance to prevent a recurrence.

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