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According to the Wikipedia entry of the Monster with 21 Faces (also named as "Fiend" in some sources), it started just after the very publicized Glico Morinaga case and it

... captured the Japanese public's imagination and many commentators refer to this incident as a turning point in Japanese society.

Information on the matter is scarce - at least in the western world. Was this similar to a Jack the Ripper / Zodiac Killer / Son of Sam case where mass hysteria followed alongside concurrent headlines by the media?

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What sort of mass hysteria? In the US during the times of the Tylenol poisonings there was a lot of public concern and products came off the shelves, not sure if what occured is mass hysteria or not. Other than the fact that the "crime-free" Japan myth was dispelled I am not sure what you are looking for here. –  MichaelF Nov 20 '12 at 12:46
    
I would think that the Japanese stopped buying candy, would follow closely the news as per any new incidents and overall started to be highly suspicious of produced foods. The thing is that I am not sure if the wikipedia article is making the issue a lot bigger than it really was or if it's true that it changed Japanese society. –  Darred Nov 22 '12 at 23:36
    
If this sort of thing was true then you might have the same effect with the Sarin gas poisonings in the Japanese subway system. Does it change societal behaviors? Maybe, but long term or not I don't know, I think that gets into sociological studies. –  MichaelF Nov 23 '12 at 14:23
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