Photo: Fernando Vergara (AP)

A pharmaceutical science professor in Japan allegedly taught his students how to make the illegal drug MDMA, and claimed it was important for their education.

Japan Times reports that on Tuesday, Tatsunori Iwamura, a professor at Matsuyama University in Shikoku, was referred to prosecutors for his unusual curriculum. He reportedly admitted he instructed his students how to make MDMA, knowing it was illegal in the country because it was crucial to his pupils’ “learning.”

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“We sincerely apologize for causing major concern to students and their parents,” said university president Tatsuya Mizogami, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency. The university reportedly said it will discipline Iwamura and the associate professor for creating the drug without a license “in accordance with the outcome of the investigation,” according to Kyodo. 

The university reportedly claims that between 2011 and 2013, Iwamura taught two students and an associate professor how to make the drug. He also allegedly instructed a different two students and the associate professor how to make it between 2016 and 2017. In the most recent case, Iwamura reportedly kept the MDMA.

Investigators reportedly did not find MDMA in Iwamura’s lab but did find traces of a different drug—5F-QUPIC, a cannabis-like drug that has been illegal in Japan since 2014.

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Under Japan’s narcotics control law, scientists can make drugs in a lab for research purposes, but they need a government license to do so. According to unnamed sources who spoke with Kyodo, Iwamura had a license to make the drug it a different prefecture but that it had expired.

[Japan Times]