The Paul McCartney Project

Paul McCartney arrested and jailed in Japan

Jan 16, 1980 • Posted in “A day in the life
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From :

Former Beatle Paul McCartney was arrested and jailed in Japan for possession of marijuana on [January 2, 1980].

The musician had landed at Tokyo’s Narita airport with the rest of his band, Wings, his wife Linda and their four children prior to a short tour of the country when the drugs were found in his suitcase.

Customs officials discovered nearly eight ounces of the drug in McCartney’s belongings, at a time when possession of that amount could be punished with a sentence of seven years’ hard labour.

He was arrested, handcuffed and questioned for an hour by narcotics officers, who then transferred him to the local jail, while his family and band members were placed in a hotel. Japanese authorities held him there while they decided what to do with him.

McCartney had been a long-term user of marijuana and vocal advocate of the legalisation of the drug, donating to campaigns that fought for its decriminalisation.

After nine days, he was finally released without charge and deported to England. The 11 concerts that Wings were expected to play were cancelled, leading to a compensation bill of £1 million for the musician.

[…] Called ‘Prisoner 22’, McCartney was given no special treatment in the jail. He had to work out for himself that he was not allowed to wash and brush his teeth each morning until he had swept his cell and folded his bedding.

He also remained in the clothes he had landed in for three days, being unaware that he could ask for a change of clothing. […]

The dates of the tour were to be:

  • Budokan Hall, Tokyo (21-24 January),
  • Aichi-Ken, Taiiku-Kan, Nagoya (25-26 January),
  • Festival Hall, Osaka (28 January),
  • Osaka Furitsu-Kan, Osaka (29 January),
  • Budokan Hall, Tokyo (31 January to 2 February).

Last updated on January 1, 2020


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