No. 280.
Mr. D. W. Stevens to Mr. Evarts.

No. 5.]

Sir: On the 23d ultimo his excellency the minister for foreign affairs forwarded to Mr. Bingham a copy of regulations whereby the Japanese Government seeks to control the importation of opium and its sale by foreign apothecaries in this empire.

The several articles of the regulations provide for the vending of medicinal opium by the imperial Japanese laboratories to licensed apothecaries in quantities not to exceed five ounces upon each application; for the resale of such opium by apothecaries only upon physicians’ certificates or prescriptions; for the examination of such certificates and prescriptions by Japanese officials: and for the refusal to sell opium to any apothecary who shall fail to observe the conditions of the regulations.”

The Japanese Government, on the 24th ultimo, and for several days thereafter, caused these regulations to be published in the foreign newspapers at Yokohama. I have the honor to inclose herewith duplicate-copies of such publication as it appeared in the Japanese Daily Herald.

The regulations have given rise to considerable comment in the foreign press here, generally of an unfavorable nature. It is said the regulations, especially article 6, are a violation of the ex-territorial rights of foreigners. I understand that this is the view taken by the British and French ministers, who are directly interested, as of the four apothecaries in this city and Yokohama three are English and one French.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 5.—Extract from the Japanese Daily Herald, October 24, 1878.]

regulations for the sale of opium.

Permission to foreigners for obtaining opium, for medicinal purposes only, will hereafter be granted by the Japanese Government in accordance with the following regulations:

  • Article 1. Supplies of opium can be obtained only at the open ports and cities in [Page 610] Japan, on application to the imperial Japanese laboratories (Siyakujio) under control of the home department; or where no such laboratories exist, to the local government offices.
  • Art. 2. Opium will be supplied only to those who are licensed by their respective governments as apothecaries.
  • Art. 3. The opium to be supplied as above shall, in the dried and powdered state, contain from 8 to 12 per cent. of morphine, and each package will be labeled with the stamp of the imperial Japanese laboratory. The quantity of opium to be supplied at one time shall not exceed 40 momme (about 5 ounces).
  • Art. 4. Any apothecary who wishes to obtain a supply of opium must apply in writing, setting forth his name, residence, nationality, and date in full, on application, together with the quantity of opium which he requires.
  • Art. 5. Apothecaries who have been supplied with opium as above provided, shall sell the same only to such persons as are provided with the prescription of a physician, or to any physician upon his written certificate that the same is required for his professional use. The sale of opium to any other person is strictly forbidden.
  • Art. 6. Any apothecary requiring a further supply of opium shall, on every application to the imperial laboratory, produce a statement showing the quantity of opium previously supplied by the laboratory to him, and the quantity sold by him, and also the total quantity used by him in preparing and compounding medicines out of the amount so received, together with a statement of the quantity remaining on hand.
  • Certificates and prescriptions of physicians referred to in the preceding article, and also the statement describing the medicines compounded, together with the quantity of opium used in their preparation, as stated in the present article, shall be kept for examination by the officials of the Japanese Government whenever required.
  • Art. 7. Any apothecary failing to produce the statement alluded to in the 6th article, or who shall sell or transfer opium to persons not provided with the prescription of a physician, or to a physician without his written certificate indicating that the same is required for his professional use, shall be denied any further supply of such opium; and apothecaries suspected of having disposed of opium for smoking purposes, shall also be denied a further supply of opium.

P. S.—The foregoing regulations will be in force in Tokio and Yokohama from the 28th day of the 10th month at this office; and due notice of the time when they will come into force at the other ports and cities will be given at the government laboratory, or at the local government offices in each open port and city.