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Paul McCartney’s arrival at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport on January 16, 1980, marked his first visit to Japan since the Beatles tour of 1966. The occasion was a planned 11-city concert tour by his band Wings. Instead, Paul’s visit was limited to a nine-day stint in the Tokyo Narcotics Detention Center, which ended on January 25, 1980.

McCartney was found to be carrying nearly half a pound of marijuana in his baggage upon arrival at Narita—an amount that Paul would later assure Japanese authorities was intended solely for his personal use. The amount was large enough, however, to warrant a smuggling charge and a potential seven-year prison sentence. Given Japan’s reputation for rigorous enforcement of its strict anti-drug laws, it was by no means a foregone conclusion that McCartney would escape trial and possible imprisonment, yet he was released and quickly deported from Japan on January 25, 1980, prior to making any appearance in court.


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