November 21, 2004

THERE IS NO SAFETY IN DECLINE:

Rebuilding a safe society (Japan Times, 11/22/04)

This year's white paper on crime opens, on the first page, with the proclaimed aim of restoring Japan as "the safest country in the world" and closes, on the final page, with the expressed determination to achieve this goal. The report seems to convey the Ministry of Justice's concern and sense of tension over the deterioration of public order in the country.

The question is how security can be restored to citizens' lives. The ministry suggests various prescriptions, but does not indicate, in the report at least, what safety checks exist today to help effect this public order.

According to the white paper, with regard to ordinary crimes excluding traffic offenses, the number of cases recognized by the police as well as the incidence of offenses per 100,000 population gradually increased after hitting a low around 1973 -- at the end of the period of high economic growth.

Although the total number of recognized cases last year declined for the first time in eight years to about 2.79 million, down 2 percent from the previous year, the number of recognized "heinous" crimes increased: homicide by 4 percent, robbery by 9 percent. These figures certainly indicate a worsening of the perceived public order.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 21, 2004 11:04 PM
Comments

There is more crime and disorder at a typical NBA game than there is in Japan. Seriously, whenever I hear the Japanese talk about crime I realize just how much criminal activity we in America have gradually come to accept as normal.

Posted by: carter at November 22, 2004 12:13 AM

But it's going up, which is especially frightening in such a homogenous, wealthy, and aged population:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1472175.stm

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2004 12:19 AM

Baah! This is a non-problem. The Japanese are aging themselves right out of this "problem", as 90 year olds aren't much given to car-jacking and rape.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at November 22, 2004 12:24 AM

"around 1973 -- at the end of the period of high economic growth."

So they're saying the last economic spurt in Japan ended, what, over 30 years ago?

Posted by: Gideon at November 22, 2004 12:44 AM
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