crime

Foreigners to blame for livestock theft, according to Japanese media

46 Comments
By SoraNews24

Japan has often been touted as a safe country, where theft is so rare you can leave your smartphone, laptop or wallet unattended and rest easy knowing that nobody else will touch it.

However, this summer there’s been an increase in theft…of livestock, farming equipment and agricultural produce.

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) alerted everyone to the problem with this tweet posted to their official account on Sept 3 (translation follows).

Screen Shot 2020-09-30 at 9.55.15.png

(Please be alert) "Producers are suffering from theft of livestock and agricultural products grown with tender care, and machines such as tractors. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in conjunction with the National Police Agency, is alerting people and putting points in order to prevent theft. In regards to the producers, please take care against theft in accordance with these points.”

The farm theft has affected a number of producers throughout Japan, particularly in Ibaraki, Saitama and Gunma prefectures. Saitama Prefecture has been worst hit, with 688 pigs (including piglets), two cows and 28 chickens reported stolen across five areas, while a total of 132 pigs have been stolen from two cities in Gunma Prefecture and six cows from a city in Ibaraki Prefecture have also been reported stolen.

A spate of farm thefts of this magnitude is extremely unusual, and as reports began gathering, so too did the questions about who might be behind the crimes.

A number of high-profile people in Japan decided to weigh in on the topic with their two yen, but they waded into murky waters by bringing race into the discussion.

Japanese actor and musician Takeshi Tsuruno, who has relatives in the farming industry, retweeted the message from MAFF and had this to say:

Screen Shot 2020-09-30 at 9.56.23.png

“In our field the coriander/cilantro was recently hit. They were caught red-handed but persistently said “I don’t understand Japanese” so please be careful. It’s sad, but we installed a surveillance camera.”

Tsuruno’s tweet quickly went viral, receiving more than 34,000 likes and over 16,000 retweets. It also garnered a number of negative comments too:

“You didn’t have to mention that they didn’t understand Japanese.”

“It’s strange to make this a Japanese/non-Japanese thing.”

“A thief is a thief, regardless of race.”

“So it could be a Japanese person pretending that they don’t understand Japanese, right?”

“We should be focussing on the crime itself, not the nationality of the criminal.”

After the backlash, Tsuruno attempted to back-pedal on his original comment with:

“The act of stealing agricultural produce, whether Japanese or foreign, is a criminal offense. It is a fact, not discrimination. My brother-in-law used a samurai’s compassion and forgave them, but we didn’t expect them to make such an allegation, so we will definitely report it next time. The neighboring fields are also being hit in the same way, so we will work together to prevent crime.”

This only ignited another heated debate in the replies section, prompting Tsuruno to ask why he, as the victim, was being admonished instead of the criminal. He then exited the argument by saying:

“I’m sorry everyone is offended!!

Why should the victim be denounced?!

This is too outrageous and I’m totally mad.”

Japanese politician and former governor of Niigata Prefecture Ryuichi Yoneyama then chimed in on the debate by saying that even if the perpetrator was a foreigner in this case, it doesn’t automatically link foreigners to the widespread livestock theft mentioned by MAFF.

However, on Sept 26, it was reported that a police officer in Gifu Prefecture arrested two foreigners on July 31 in relation to damage to livestock. The officer encountered two Vietnamese men on bicycles at 4 a.m. in the morning, and pursued them after spotting blood stains on their bicycles. At around 6:30 a.m., a cow in the same area was discovered dead and partially dismantled, leading the two men to be arrested on suspicion of building invasion and theft.

This case appeared to embolden the Japanese news media to pin the crimes against livestock on Vietnamese nationals. After interviewing a Vietnamese food store and restaurant, TV Asahi confirmed that a Vietnamese person had called the store offering to sell them a domestic piglet. Whole pigs aren’t generally sold in Japan, and according to a report by TBS News, it’s common for Vietnamese people to eat whole pigs, cooked on a spit, at big occasions like weddings.

Screen Shot 2020-09-30 at 9.58.32.png

As the perpetrators of the widespread livestock theft in Ibaraki, Saitama and Gunma prefectures remain at large, it seems the Japanese media have become preoccupied with determining the possible nationality of the criminals.

Until the criminals are caught, however, it might be best to stick to reporting the facts of each case as they come to light. And while it’s right to be outraged at the thefts on behalf of Japanese farmers, the nationality of the criminals shouldn’t be more of an issue than the crimes they’ve committed. Because a thief is a thief, regardless of where they come from.

Source: Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- 15 tons of sweet potatoes stolen in rural Japan, criminal crew may be targeting spuds

-- Kyoto police set up system to predict when and where crimes will happen

-- Elderly pickpocket “Calling Tamako” finally apprehended after string of Tokyo thefts

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
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If a local committed the crime, it doesn't get much attention but god forbid if it was a foreigner.

16 ( +25 / -9 )

“In our field the coriander/cilantro was recently hit. They were caught red-handed but persistently said “I don’t understand Japanese” so please be careful. It’s sad, but we installed a surveillance camera.”

They were being caught red handed stealing coriander/cilantro in one case, now for every cases that involve of thief around rural Japan will be blamed to foreigner.

Whole pigs aren’t generally sold in Japan, and according to a report by TBS News, it’s common for Vietnamese people to eat whole pigs

Is there any evidence? Speculation alone is enough to do journalism? Is not generally sold it doesn't mean you couldn't get it in legal way!

6 ( +11 / -5 )

In fairness, though, fresh coriander can be pretty hard to find...

(yes, that’s tongue in cheek)

9 ( +11 / -2 )

688 pigs (including piglets), two cows and 28 chickens

How do you steal a whole cow? Pigs and chickens i understand. But a cow?

Theft is theft. But stealing some cilantro is a lot different from stealing hundreds of pigs, cows, chickens, and farming equipment and machinery.

This sounds more like a crime ring than to just blame it on foreigners.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

This sounds more like a crime ring than to just blame it on foreigners.

Yes, in rural area there are more thievery more than it being put on the news even before flux of people specified skilled worker visa, there many thievery that target various items with large quantities. Most of them really need transportation like trucks, which lot of foreigners can not afford.

So putting this in the news those foreigners will get all the blame for all those crime.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

JJ JetplaneToday  08:00 am JST

688 pigs (including piglets), two cows and 28 chickens

How do you steal a whole cow? Pigs and chickens i understand. But a cow?

Theft is theft. But stealing some cilantro is a lot different from stealing hundreds of pigs, cows, chickens, and farming equipment and machinery.

This sounds more like a crime ring than to just blame it on foreigners.

Easy, back up truck, open gate, herd cow into said truck.

Livestock theft is a problem here in NZ too, but they do it in large numbers. The nationality is rarely, if ever mentioned in news in NZ until it goes to court.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yes, in rural area there are more thievery more than it being put on the news even before flux of people specified skilled worker visa, there many thievery that target various items with large quantities

any stats to back this up?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

How do you steal a whole cow?

 At around 6:30 a.m., a cow in the same area was discovered dead and partially dismantled,

Thats how.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

How do you steal a whole cow?

 At around 6:30 a.m., a cow in the same area was discovered dead and partially dismantled,

That's only one case, try to explain the one 670 went missing! How they stole in that big numbers, do you still think foreigners can really arrange that?

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/670-pigs-stolen-from-farms-in-gunma-prefecture

2 ( +5 / -3 )

"And while it’s right to be outraged at the thefts on behalf of Japanese farmers, the nationality of the criminals shouldn’t be more of an issue than the crimes they’ve committed. Because a thief is a thief, regardless of where they come from."

But if foreigners are committing the majority of such crimes, shouldn't the Japanese people be told? Moreover, if foreigners are committing the majority of such crimes, then Japan's visa policy has to take that fact into account.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

I don't see a problem with the first tweet, a bunch of thieves used a lousy excuse when caught which makes the victims angrier, the reaction is what became problematic. Focus on the nationality was something in bad taste and likely not the intention of the original.

You want to focus on thieves being foreign? then use information from the arrests or something that proves that a higher percentage of the caught criminals are foreigner than what would be expected from the general population, using anecdotes only is manipulation, the same could be done to blame old people, men over women or even lefties if you can get at least a couple of cases to talk about.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It seems to me Japanese farmers should have more security about those thefts, almost no cameras, no lights, no alarm devices, etc., in case. They don't patrol their livestock at all over night. Now they just started to patrol there.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I didn't know cilantro was grown commercially in "hatake" (fields). All the big players will do hydroponics in polytunnels.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

TV news showed some footage of two people stealing a young cow. You could tell from their gait that they were south East Asians. Probably Vietnamese, Cambodians or Laotians. Growing up in flip flops leads to a particular walking style.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Internal debate with myself to post or not but generally I think this board has good discussion so giving it a shot.

Maybe devil's advocate here but given the very low percentage of foreigners in the country, if indeed there is evidence of this being perpetrated by foreigners (no reason to doubt the twitter post about family farm), then it seems like a narrowing feature to find the criminals.

That being said, I used to remind the idiots that thought Japan was Disney Land and acted a fool that they are painting us all as fools with thier behavior so I get that angle completely.

Anyway, could be easily swayed on this thought.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yep...probably had nothing to do with the  " honorable " Japanese employers cutting their foreign " trainees " and " students " due to corona. You throw people out on a street , they do what they gotta do to surivive and eat.

My brother-in-law used a samurai’s compassion and forgave them,

Samurai compassion?....give us a break with that cr..p, as if compassion is some unique trait of J-samurai class that does not exist anywhere else in the world....so unique..subarashii, sugoi..what century is this?

11 ( +13 / -2 )

If foreigners are doing it, then say so because it's true.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Speed, you should be my editor - short and sweet. Lol

2 ( +2 / -0 )

t seems to me Japanese farmers should have more security about those thefts, almost no cameras, no lights, no alarm devices, etc., in case. They don't patrol their livestock at all over night. Now they just started to patrol there.

With product prices being raised, we consumers may also share costs for crime (prevention).

Mass theft in a organized manner seems to be a new, emerging phenomenon (no wonder that farmers were unprepared). I suspect that there are some Japanese collaborators involved in handling logistics with full local knowledge.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

One thing is, when you see foreign buskers or touts or someone doing some suspicious hustling in a public setting in Japan, and possibly in this case; in the background and running cover, providing resources and protection is Japanese organized crime.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's quite well known that some robbers intentionally speak aloud in broken Japanese. Just saying.

I highly doubt whether all those criminals stealing fruits and vegetables on farms are foreigners too. Not one Japanese?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Well there we have it.

While Western media are afraid of calling out foreigners, the Japanese ones on the other hand are all too eager to do so...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

the nationality of the criminals shouldn’t be more of an issue than the crimes they’ve committed.

Wrong. It is an issue for purposes of identifying the prepertrators.

How can you imply that the victims are not allowed to describe the criminals?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Without foreigners there would be no crime here, if you believe the hot air that emanates from a lot of places.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Now I know why my farmer neighbor is giving me the gimlet eye.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Now I know why my farmer neighbor is giving me the gimlet eye.

IDK. Maybe he thinks you want to steal his daughter.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Problem is, without cheap foreign labor J-agriculture would collapse.

Want foreigners to go home? Then pick your own damn veggies.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Obviously whoever steals is a thief, stating the obvious. That out of the way, large scale theft is likely controlled higher up the food chain with a number of ""sub contractors"" (just like in construction etc ) further down to shield the puppet masters from getting caught etc

That said I hope any thief IS caught & the situation then properly investigated, the later though is highly unlikely as we have seen for decades upon decades with construction etc, authorities simply DONT tend to actually investigate much if at all & here we are!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@ Concerned Citizen

Nationality may be useful to police who can demand to see a foreigner's passport at any time, but how is it useful for the average person? Can you reliably tell someone's nationality by looking at them? Or even the language they speak?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Vietnamese are reported to be committing quite a lot of crimes here recently. I don't know why by that surprises me.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

With what little these "interns" get paid, it is to be expected that a few will be light-fingered.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It doesn't matter whether you're Choi, Lee, Kim, Zhang, Nkosi, Obadele, Diallo, Rodriguez, Nguyen or Smith.

The fact of this story is that foreigners in Japan are committing crimes. Some of you are so reactive that it makes me wonder - are you part of these foreign criminal rings.

Whenever I visit any country - including Japan - I make sure that I do not partake in crime.

Behave yourself or ship your derrière back home.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Information is slow

These two Vietnamese have already been arrested

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Foreigners, certainly get a twist in their shorts over almost anything that alludes to gross or indecent behavior on the part of non-citizens. As if to defend 'their kind'. There is a certain arrogance, as if a class discriminated against and visited with prejudice drapes the entirety and it is an offense to all that is completely unwarranted. Indeed it is incredibly reactionary.

Though, foreigners, at least from The West are certainly barbarians. As for thieves, cultural affiliations are a viable commentary, as are traits therein, it is pretentious to feign otherwise.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

This sort of racial stereotyping is a fact of live here, particularly the sterotyping of Africans and other Asians.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@porto

@ Concerned Citizen

Nationality may be useful to police who can demand to see a foreigner's passport at any time, but how is it useful for the average person? Can you reliably tell someone's nationality by looking at them? Or even the language they speak?

My point is that if an abviously foreign person commits a crime, the victim ought to be able to accurately describe the prepertrator to investigators.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good Lord but people are stupid. That's the whole problem here. Its a fact that both foreigners and Japanese commit crimes, but people being stupid they will blame all the foreigners if one is caught. But they won't blame all Japanese because, being people being stupid, they feel some comradery with people they never met, just because they were born in the same country. And so they don't want to hold natives accountable because its so much more comfortable to just blame the outsiders. Its a common stupid theme in the world.

One obvious cause of increased thefts not being mentioned is Covid 19. Its hit a lot of Japanese pretty hard too and some are resorting to theft to make up for losses. And its not like theft from farms is new or ever had anything to do with the presence of foreigners. Its old as the hills in Japan. Put those two together and its pretty obvious the main culprits are Japanese whether some Japanese want to play the "blame the foreigner" game or not.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Foreigners to blame for livestock theft, according to Japanese media

When they use the word "foreigners", a large group of hard working people here, coupled with the word "theft", they're throwing us into the spotlight and label us "thieves" thus giving Japanese people more fuel to not accept non Japanese residents. This title was written without thought of the consequences it would come with towards other foreigners.

What if someone wrote an article titled "Asian people have NO manners in public!", that would put ALL Asian creeds in one demographic, but actually its meant to focus on those rude, unruly, um-mannered and unpleasant Chines tourists, and Japanese people were feeling the aftermath of that article, I wonder if things would change?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yes I am guilty, Every year when visiting Japan I grab farm animals. Nothing as nice as my beside the road chicken stuffed with cilantro roasted on an open fire. Carlos G actually wanted to take a cow on his escape from Tokyo, but it was too big to fit in a private jet. Killing the golden hen has always been a favorite of the political class. However never very popular with overseas bandits curently roaming the countryside looking for golden eggs to make French toast . Perhaps providing better take-away food @ 7/11 might stop these guys from ''grab a snack tactics" @ local farms in the middle of the night . Pigs ears and tails are popular items to steal among this class but not everyone eats pork . So eat everyone eat it is a pandemic and time to be kind

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This title is misleading and enticing discrimination against all foreigners. The JT article clearly states the thieves as Vietnamese, then state it as such and don't hide it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The Vietnamese might be being used by the local inamkamono. Who knows how and what to steal than the locals.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Vietnamese are reported to be committing quite a lot of crimes here recently. I don't know why by that surprises me.

@ Kniknaknokaer - To be clear, most Vietnamese are hard working, in farm work as technical trainees in Japan. Vietnamese people love and look up to Japan, which is why so many hundreds of thousands are trying to get the visa to live in Japan.

But for some, the promise of quick riches by stealing from farms they work on, is too much to resist. After all, they are all from a Communist upbringing , and hard to make a leopard change his spots. Old habits die hard.

So, no, its actually not surprising for some of them to commit these crimes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This has nothing to do with Japanese or Foreigners and anyone who tries to make it an issue is a Racist.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Send them BACK to their Countries and give them Life Bans from the Country after a Jail Sentence.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Gaijin/Foreigners, are both very broad terms.

We often read or hear Gaijin bla, bla, bla. This implicates "ALL" Non Japanese.

The media and others need to be "Race Specific" when Making allegation's.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This has nothing to do with Japanese or Foreigners and anyone who tries to make it an issue is a Racist.

Let me help you out here...

Foreigners to blame for livestock theft, according to Japanese media

Now I'm not sure, but I think the implications in THE HEADLINE are very obvious!

If you don't get it, the media is putting foreigners as thieves in the eyes of Japanese people. So let me rephrase your post :

*This** has nothing to do with Japanese or Foreigners and anyone who tries to make it an issue is a Racist.*

*This issue is Racist!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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