This photo taken on March 11, 2019 shows smuggled stimulant drugs. (Kyodo)

Trade ministry official arrested for attempting to smuggle stimulant

TOKYO - A 28-year-old trade ministry official has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to smuggle a stimulant from the United States, police said Monday.

Tetsuya Nishida, deputy director of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry's automobile division, received a dummy package -- the original, which contained the illegal substance, had been intercepted and replaced by investigators -- on Saturday at his home in Tokyo.

The career-track bureaucrat denied the allegation, saying he was not aware of the content of the parcel, according to the police.

In the original package, which arrived in Japan on April 15, the police found 22 grams of a stimulant, worth about 1.3 million yen ($12,000), in a plastic bag that was stuffed between the pages of a magazine.

The package was addressed to another location, but Nishida instructed the postal service to deliver it to his home instead, the police said.

"It's really regrettable. We'll fully cooperate in investigation," the trade ministry said in a statement released after the police announced Nishida's arrest.