MPD Begins Use of Quick Test Kit for ‘Date Rape Drugs’

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Metropolitan Police Department in Chiyoda ward, Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Tokyo police began in earnest this month to use a test kit that can determine in just a few minutes whether a sexual assault victim has been given a so-called date rape drug.

The Metropolitan Police Department has distributed the rapid test kit to all of its police stations except those on remote islands. This is the first such initiative in Japan.

“It is expected to help stabilize victims’ minds and speed up investigations,” a senior MPD official said.

Date rape drugs are sleep-inducing and other drugs used by sexual assault perpetrators to render victims unconscious or unable to resist. Such drugs are usually slipped into drinks.

According to the MPD, existing urine tests for such drugs have taken as long as around a month to produce results.

The MPD introduced the rapid test kit on a trial basis in December. The kit can detect any traces of sleep-inducing drugs in a victim’s urine by mixing a urine sample with the reagent.

The new test kit allows police to identify sexual assault cases as soon as victims file complaints, and then swiftly take initial action, such as finding security camera footage.

The kit was developed in partnership with a private company at the suggestion of a female officer in the MPD’s First Criminal Investigation Division.

The officer said there have been cases in which victims refused to cooperate with police investigations after the time it took to see urine test results made them think that they might have drunk too much, instead of being drugged, or that they wanted to withdraw their criminal complaints.