Crime in Japan

Crime in Japan

Crime in Japan is lower than in many other first world countries. While crime is still infrequent, the past decade has seen increasing crime.[1] There are controversies regarding crimes committed by non-ethnic Japanese people and misconduct by police in reporting crime statistics.




The yakuza had existed in Japan well before the 1800s and followed codes similar to the bushido of the samurai. Their early operations were usually close-knit, and the leader and gang members had father-son relationships. Although this traditional arrangement continues to exist, yakuza activities are increasingly replaced by modern types of gangs that depend on force and money as organizing concepts. Nonetheless, yakuza often picture themselves as saviors of traditional Japanese virtues in a postwar society, sometimes forming ties with right-wing groups espousing the same views and attracting dissatisfied youths to their ranks.

Yakuza groups in 1990 were estimated to number more than 3,300 and together contained more than 88,000 members. Although concentrated in the largest urban prefectures, yakuza operate in most cities and often receive protection from highranking officials. After concerted police pressure in the 1960s, smaller gangs either disappeared or began to consolidate in syndicate-type organizations. In 1990, three large syndicates (Yamaguchi-gumi, Sumiyoshi-kai, Inagawa-kai) dominated organized crime in the nation and controlled more than 1,600 gangs and 42,000 gangsters. Their number have since swelled and shrunk, often coinciding with economic conditions.

The yakuza tradition also spread to the Okinawa island in the 20th century. The Kyokuryu-kai and the Okinawa Kyokuryu-kai are the two largest known yakuza groups in Okinawa Prefecture and both have been registered as designated boryokudan groups under the Organized Crime Countermeasures Law since 1992.[2]


The National Police Agency divides crime into six main categories:[citation needed]


In 1990 the police identified over 2.2 million Penal Code violations[citation needed]. Two types of violations—larceny (65.1 percent of total violations[citation needed]) and negligent homicide or injury as a result of accidents (26.2%)—accounted for over 90 percent of criminal offenses in Japan[citation needed]. In 1989 Japan experienced 1.3 robberies per 100,000 population, compared with 48.6 for West Germany, 65.8 for Great Britain, and 233.0 for the United States; and it experienced 1.1 murder per 100,000 population, compared with 3.9 for West Germany, 1.03 for England and Wales, and 8.7 for the United States that same year[citation needed]. Japanese authorities also solve a high percentage of robbery cases (75.9%, compared with 43.8% for West Germany, 26.5% for Britain, and 26.0% for the United States) and homicide cases (95.9% , compared with 94.4% for Germany, 78.0% for Britain, and 68.3% for the United States)[citation needed]. This is connected to the fact that prosecutions are less likely to be successfully challenged compared to the above mentioned countries, a fact that has caused human rights concerns and has led to a change in the law which took effect in 2009[citation needed].

Social factors

According to Ruth Benedict's shame culture/guilt culture analysis, an important factor keeping crime low is the traditional emphasis on the individual as a member of groups to which he or she must not bring shame. Within these groups—family, friends, and associates at work or school—a Japanese citizen has social rights and obligations, may derive emotional support, and meets powerful expectations to conform. These informal social sanctions display potency despite competing values in a changing society.

Legal deterrents

Ownership of handguns is forbidden to the public, hunting rifles and ceremonial swords are registered with the police, and the manufacture and sale of firearms are regulated. The production and sale of live and blank ammunition are also controlled, as are the transportation and importation of all weapons. Crimes are seldom committed with firearms, yet knives remain a problem that the government is looking into, especially after the Akihabara massacre.


Of particular concern to the police are crimes associated with modernization. Increased wealth and technological sophistication has brought new white collar crimes, such as computer and credit card fraud, larceny involving coin dispensers, and insurance fraud. Incidence of drug abuse is minuscule, compared with other industrialized nations and limited mainly to stimulants. Japanese law enforcement authorities endeavor to control this problem by extensive coordination with international investigative organizations and stringent punishment of Japanese and foreign offenders. Traffic accidents and fatalities consume substantial law enforcement resources.

Crimes by non-Japanese

Although the total number of crimes by non-Japanese is substantially lower than those by Japanese, the public perception is that the influx of immigrants has led to the crime increase.[3] A large portion of crimes by immigrants are by Chinese in Japan, and some highly publicized crimes by organized groups of Chinese (often with help of Japanese organized crime) have led to a negative public perception.[4] News media often report a crime was committed by Chinese even when the fact is not known.[3]

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • japan — japanner, n. /jeuh pan /, n., adj., v., japanned, japanning. n. 1. any of various hard, durable, black varnishes, originally from Japan, for coating wood, metal, or other surfaces. 2. work varnished and figured in the Japanese manner. 3. Japans,… …   Universalium

  • Japan — /jeuh pan /, n. 1. a constitutional monarchy on a chain of islands off the E coast of Asia: main islands, Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku. 125,716,637; 141,529 sq. mi. (366,560 sq. km). Cap.: Tokyo. Japanese, Nihon, Nippon. 2. Sea of, the… …   Universalium

  • Crime in the People's Republic of China — Crime is present in various forms in the People s Republic of China. Common forms of crime include drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, human trafficking, corruption, black marketeering, and circulation of fake currencies. Contents 1… …   Wikipedia

  • Crime and Punishment (manga) — Crime and Punishment 罪と罰 (Tsumi To Batsu) Genre Drama Manga Crime and Punishment …   Wikipedia

  • Crime comics — Cover to an issue of Crime Does Not Pay , one of the earliest crime comics   This topic covers comics that fall under the c …   Wikipedia

  • Crime in India — Crime is present in various forms in India. Organized crime include drug trafficking, gunrunning, money laundering, extortion, murder for hire, fraud, human trafficking and poaching. Many criminal operations engage in black marketeering,… …   Wikipedia

  • Crime in Israel — is present in various forms which include drug trafficking, arms trafficking, burglary, car theft, human trafficking etc. Contents 1 Organised crime 2 Crimes in Israel committed by Palestinians 3 Drugs in Israel …   Wikipedia

  • Crime Time — redirects here. For the World Wrestling Entertainment tag team, see Cryme Tyme. Crime Time …   Wikipedia

  • Crime in Choir — Origin San Francisco, California Genres Instrumental Experimental Progressive rock Math Rock Years active 2000 – present …   Wikipedia

  • Crime Fighters — Japanese arcade flyer of Crime Fighters Developer(s) Konami Publisher(s) Konami …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.