News Release Article from  National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Military Member Released by Japanese Authorities Returns to Canada

March 25, 2016 – Esquimalt, B.C. – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces           

A Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) sailor who was convicted of the alleged use of a controlled substance in Japan has been released from custody and returned to Canada. The sailor had been in Japanese custody since early February and was subsequently released with a suspended sentence.‎ He returned March 25.

On February 1, 2016, three members of HMCS Winnipeg’s ship’s company were detained by Japanese authorities while the ship was conducting a port visit in Tokyo, Japan. These crew members, two military members and one civilian employee, were detained for the alleged use of a controlled substance. One of the military members was released without being charged by police, while the other two persons remained in custody and were charged with the use of a controlled substance by the Tokyo Police.

The civilian employee remains in custody while awaiting a judicial hearing. No further information can be released regarding this case at this time.

Quick Facts

  • The RCN has been providing support to those detained since first learning of the incident this past February. Our stance has always been to first take care of those directly involved and their families as best we are able given the circumstances; that is what we did, and what we will continue to do as we move forward.
  • The RCN, and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as a whole, has a zero-tolerance policy for illicit drug use and possession.
  • The Government of Canada and the CAF are committed to the health and mental preparedness of military members. Drug use impairs operational readiness, the health and safety of CAF members and the public, the security of defence establishments and information, the reliability of CAF members, and discipline, cohesion, and morale within the CAF.
  • The CAF has a comprehensive Drug Control Program, consisting of four elements: education, detection, treatment, and rehabilitation.
  • CAF policy supports a drug-free work environment and the vast majority of CAF members are living up to this standard.
  • CAF members are held to the highest standards of professionalism and conduct, and are subject to Canadian laws, including the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code of Canada, and the Code of Service Discipline, which is part of the National Defence Act.


“The Royal Canadian Navy has been providing support to those detained since first learning of the incident this past February. We are looking into this case to determine if any further disciplinary measures are warranted. Drug use is not tolerated within our ranks, period. It is not only illegal, but it can also place lives at risk in our workplace. This message needs to be very clearly hoisted aboard, once and for all.”

-- Commander Jeff Hutchison, Commanding Officer, HMCS Winnipeg

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