Japanese Tears -
It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Thirty years ago, you can be sure Paul McCartney did not hold the same place in his heart for Japan that his former Beatle Brother John did. It was January 25th 1980 that Paul was released after spending ten days in a Japanese prison.

Macca’s ordeal began on the 16th of January when Paul, his family and the three other members of Wings arrived at Narita International Airport where customs inspectors quickly found nearly eight ounces of what Paul had described as “dynamite weed” (with a Japanese street value of ¥600,000) barely hidden in one of Macca’s suitcases and in the hood of eight-year-old Stella’s coat. Paul was immediately arrested, taken to prison where he was assigned prisoner number 22 and began several days of interrogation by narcotics officers.

McCartney was in Japan to perform 11 dates with Wings. Paul’s previous drug conviction had for years prevented him from getting a Japanese work visa, which he had been thrilled to finally get, but once the weed was found, not only were the shows cancelled but Wings’ music was also banned from Japanese airwaves. With Paul in the brig, Linda did her best to smooth things over with the Japanese press: “It’s really very silly. People certainly are different over here. They take it so very seriously. Paul is now in some kind of detention place and I have not been allowed to see him. As soon as they get someone nice like Paul, they seem to make a field day out of it. I’ll never come back to Japan again. This is my first trip and last!”

Rumor flew around that John & Yoko laughed at the Macca bust, but a few years ago, John’s cleaning lady, Osaura Lorenzo, recalled being at the Dakota when John and Yoko got the news, saying the couple were concerned about Paul and couldn’t believe that he would do such a thing, or get caught at where Linda was staying. It read: “Thinking of you all with love. Keep your spirits high. Nice to have you back home again soon. Love, George and Olivia.

After nine days of this madness, McCartney’s legal team arrived at an agreement with the Japanese Ministry of Justice that would see Paul and his family deported without any charges filed. It helped McCartney’s case that he planned on smoking all eight ounces of the weed himself rather than distribute it to the locals.

“Sayonara!” Paul shouted to fans at the airport as he was shoved onto the plane that was to take him home. Paul told reporters, “I have been a fool. What I did was incredibly dumb. However, it was exactly four years to the day of his Japanese bust when he and Linda were busted for possession again, in Barbados and then again less than forty-eight hours later while returning home from Barbados.




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McCartney lost several million dollars over the mess that he got himself into, but a handful of good things came out of this. The Japanese bust pretty much drew the curtain on Wings, an act with whom McCartney had become bored. And Michael Jackson eventually got his pick of the cancelled tour’s merchandise and got the pretty awesome jacket that he is pictured in the photo wearing.

See a news report on Paul’s Japan bust here.