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Japan prohibits import of R4 cartridges

Jordan Mallory

Nintendo's ongoing struggle against the now-infamous R4 cartridge continues, as another blow against the potentially devious device has been dealt in Japanese government. While the R4 has been illegal to sell in Japan since 2009, importing the thing was still technically legal. Now, however, that too has been prohibited by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

For those of you new to this perpetually unfolding saga of prohibition, let's recap: The R4 is a flash cartridge for the Nintendo DS, which allows users to play homebrew and/or pirated games on their handhelds. You can probably guess which usage was more common.

So far, distributing the R4 (and similar devices) has been banned in Japan, France and the UK. Additionally, Amazon and eBay have discontinued sales of the cart at the behest of Nintendo. Australian-based distributors of the cartridges have been successfully sued by Nintendo, and a man in the UK went to prison for a year for importing over 26,000 carts.

So, if you have to run an illegal import/export business, take our advice and shift away from the R4 and refocus on something less dangerous to work with, like cursed Egyptian artifacts, or mint-in-box time-traveler's bones.

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