September 29, 2003


Japan's streets grow meaner (The Japan Times, Sept. 30, 2003)

Japanese criminal organizations are increasingly penetrating a variety of economic fields and strengthening their links with foreign organized-crime groups, posing a threat to the nation's public order. The National Police Agency's 2003 white paper highlights "The Fight Against Organized Crime," focusing on how a growing behind-the-scenes presence of Japanese gangs in crime, an increase in foreign involvement in crime and juvenile crime are contributing to the worsening state of public order.

Criminal investigations are not solely a police matter; nonetheless, there can be no more dillydallying on the implementation of measures to restore public order. Stronger steps must be taken to eliminate the gangs that are worming their way into the daily lives of citizens.

Crimes committed by foreigners are often lumped together in reports. In actuality, however, the offenses are diverse, ranging from house burglaries and car theft to armed robbery and the illegal trafficking of guns and drugs. Last year foreigners in Japan accounted for about 35,000 criminal cases and about 16,000 arrests. These figures are the highest on record, exceeding last year's statistics by about 4,000 cases and roughly 1,600 arrests. [...]

Last year there were more than 2.85 million recognized criminal cases, setting a postwar record for the seventh consecutive year. The arrest rate, meanwhile, plunged to a new low. Clearly, the state of public security is declining.

Focusing on the 35,000 out of the 2.85 million seems the mark of a society that can't face its own pathologies, no?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2003 9:45 PM

From the articles I've read the Japanese prison system is rather nasty experience if you are a gaijin (foreigner).

Posted by: GIdeon at September 30, 2003 1:36 AM

But better Japan than Saudi Arabia:

Posted by: Barry Meislin at September 30, 2003 4:18 AM

I don't know if this is so much an example of modern pathology as a recrudescence of ancient xenophobia...for Japan has always been one of the most xenophobic nations on earth. It wasn't all that long ago that the standard word for foreigners was "iteki" ("barbarians") instead of "gaijin" (outside person).

Posted by: Joe at September 30, 2003 5:48 AM

And that is part of their conundrum. Their economy is in decline because their population is aging and shrinking. They don't want to have babies and they can't accept foreigners so they cannot allow immigration.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 1, 2003 11:43 AM