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No. of foreigners arrested for crimes in Japan up by 8% in 2013


The National Police Agency said Thursday that the number of foreigners arrested on suspicion of committing crimes totaled 9,884 in 2013, an increase of 8% over 2012, and the first increase in nine years.

According to NPA figures, criminal charges were filed against foreigners in 15,419 cases, NTV reported. Of the 9,884 arrests, Chinese accounted for the most with 4,047, followed by Vietnamese (1,118) and South Koreans (936).

The NPA also noted that in the case of Vietnamese offenders, shoplifting was the main offense, with charges being filed in 549 cases last year, NTV reported.

The figures do not include arrests of foreigners with permanent residency status and members of the U.S. military stationed in Japan.

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arrested on suspicion of committing crimes

More arrests of foreigners do not necessarily mean more crimes by foreigners. Given the NPA's (and the Yomiuri group's) enduring fondness for reporting about naughty gaikokujin, I take this news with a very large grain of salt.

24 ( +33 / -9 )

....does this include those convicted on such serious offenses such as being caught riding ABANDONED Bicycles ? I think this is a MAJOR concern that should be the main focus, NOT !

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Simple reason: racial profiling, and agreeing with plastic monkey here, suspicion and fact are different things and this like other police related statistics are just used to cause more fear among the natives.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

ahhh "police statistics" -the bureaucratic construction of social reality... Police can manipulate crime statistics any way they choose.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

My neighborhood (Koreatown) is apparently chian warui. Of course Japanese standards for dangerous neighborhood is pretty lax ....

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What exactly constitutes crime ? I see shoplifting ok , but what else ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

those criminal foreigners!!!!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

What percentage were visa violations? More importantly, how does this compare with arrests of Japanese? What percentage of overall crime were committed by foreigners?

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Good job Japan police.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Apparently it also includes the crime of being white in public. Yesterday, I was stopped on the street near my mansion. The police checked my ID, went through my wallet, asked me to empty my pockets, and then pat searched me. They were very polite about it though, I'm guessing it was quota time, or OJT.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japan is the only country I know of that would make a headline out of this kind of statistic. If it wasn't meant to be prejudiced against foreigners it would have also included a comparison of how many Japanese get arrested for the same offenses. But, I guess we all know that Japanese don't commit crimes, don't we?

19 ( +27 / -8 )

bububu - in previous years visa violations have accounted for 50-60%.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I worry like others that this might be a bit of racial profiling. I have notice a huge increase of negative remarks about the character of Chinese from (Japanese) people over the last year. The sudden amount of hateful things I have heard from people I previously never heard such type of talk has been really shocking to me.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

mountain out of a molehill anyone haha!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Statistics can be manipulated by those trying to convince others to see a certain point of view.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

This is just xenophobic scare tactics by the Police. They should run a comparison to the number and type of crimes committed by Japanese, but I guess it makes the xenophobic little racists feel reassured to make it look like we're all on a crime spree. Most of those 'crimes' are visa violations, which stretches the definition to say the least. It is also by default a 'crime' that Japanese cannot commit. So in other words the 'crime' figures are artificially inflated: the police are basically lying to the public.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Those figures include visa overstayers which more than likely accounts for at least 25% of those figures.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

'What percentage were visa violations? More importantly, how does this compare with arrests of Japanese? What percentage of overall crime were committed by foreigners?'

That's stepping into the very dangerous area of balance. The creed has been written and is continually recited - Japan is a safe country and foreign influence could threaten that. Trivialities like comparative figures don't suit the narrative.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I've lived in Japan for seven years, and been stopped by police 6 or 7 times. But three of those times have been in the last six months or so. Two times in the station (plainclothes, then uniformed police) and once on the street in Hachioji. For me, it's faster and easier just to be pleasant and let them do whatever. I have nothing to worry about, being a resident alien with all the proper IDs...Alien Card (new version), driver's license (recently renewed), Health Insurance card, etc etc and the all have matching name and address. It's a bit embarrassing, but it always ends with a lot of bows, apologies, and salutes. Again, to the uniformed police's credit, they have always been super polite, no so with the plainclothes guys.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

What is the annual growth in the total population of foreigners? In case 8% is greater than that, this story is not good news.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Recently I read that the Abe admin. wants to increase the number of foreigners by some 200,000 p.a. over a time span of approx. five to ten years. This should serve to increase the domestic work force and reduce a bit the impact of ageing of society. Not sure whether police actions against foreigners are the right way to promote immigration........

2 ( +4 / -2 )

These announcements seem to be becoming part of a cycle. Here's the breakdown of how skewed last year's stats were: http://www.debito.org/?p=11557

And for those of you who are wondering what to do if you're stopped by the police: http://www.debito.org/?page_id=506

0 ( +5 / -5 )

"No. of foreigners arrested for crimes in Japan up by 8% in 2013"

Perhaps as a law abiding American I got to be more careful when going outside.....

who know how many out there may have increased attitudes towards me, and such..

"No. of foreigners arrested for crimes in Japan up by 8% in 2013"

I feel there is an underlying message here? Do the cyclops want us here?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Out of all the world wars that have ever happened, Japan started one -- therefore, it is statistically safe to say that the peace-loving nation of Japan is responsible for 50% of world wars. In other words, as Churchill said, "There are lies, damn lies — and statistics."

5 ( +9 / -4 )

foreigners arrested on suspicion of committing crimes

more like gaijin profiling has increased 8%. How does this compare to Japanese?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

How many more gaijin did enter Japan compared to the year before?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So they're adding the consumption tax to crim statistics now? Thanks a lot, Abe!

On a more serious note, it is disturbing to see the number of arrests printed in the news year after year as if the number actually means something. Anyone can be arrested.

Note also that the top three nationalities among arrestees are, in general, racially indistinguishable from the Japanese. Keep that in mind next time a police stops your Caucasian, Black, Indian, etc. self and uses "foreign crime is up" as a justification for questioning you. If they'regoing by what people look like, non-Asian-looking folks shouldn't attract a policeman's eye at all.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The figures do not includes arrests of foreigners with permanent residency status and members of the U.S. military stationed in Japan.

Ah, that's why Americans are missing from the top 3.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

What I wonder is how the arrest rate of non-foreigners has changed during the same period.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There are 2.5 million foreigners in Japan but 9,884 arrests which is .004 percent.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What a pity journalists do not have to study statistics before using them in their articles.

In January we learnt that the number of foreign visitors to Japan increased by around 23% last year. [See: http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/no-of-tourists-to-japan-in-2013-exceed-10-mil-target]

So an increase of only 8% in crimes by foreigners is GOOD news!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"The figures do not includes arrests of foreigners with permanent residency status and members of the U.S. military stationed in Japan.

Ah, that's why Americans are missing from the top 3."

Go look up the percentage of U.S. military members arrested for crimes in Japan, then get back here and retract that comment.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Oh Joy, what a wonderful set of objective, informative and totally meaningless statics.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Us foreigners and our crime sprees. When I see another foreigner coming toward me, I get filled with dread. Where can I go to get away from us?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

...meaning ?...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Don't look at me. I've got an alibi.


2 ( +2 / -0 )

'I worry like others that this might be a bit of racial profiling. I have notice a huge increase of negative remarks about the character of Chinese from (Japanese) people over the last year. The sudden amount of hateful things I have heard from people I previously never heard such type of talk has been really shocking to me.'

I was aggressively told to get out of Japan and go and live in China by a group of businessmen younger than myself for mentioning that I've spent time in China, speak a little of the language and met many decent people there. You can bet your bottom dollar that many will enjoy emphasizing the crime rates among Chinese without any comparative stats. I find it ugly and disturbing as well as an insult to my friends.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Considering that fact that I know a guy who was arrested for what at the end of the day amounted to be "being drunk and unable to speak Japanese" at a HUB, I think the number of CONVICTIONS would mean more than arrests...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Jimizo because nobody is answering so I checked some. There might be mistakes but I could not find full 2013 version of statistic so this is 2012 statistic. I think the stats won't have significantly changed. Which is here. https://www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai/H24_rainichi.pdf

If you cannot read Japanese, the total arrest number was 9149. Those who did not have passports, and visa violation(probably meaning不法残留 in Japanese, ) the total number was 553 and 1028 each, so the total is 1581. Leaving out all violations of immigration control law, the toal arrest number of foreigners is 5423. Which is just about 2% of the overall crimes in Japan. Overall arrest number is 287,021 in 2012. which comes from here http://www.npa.go.jp/toukei/seianki/h24hanzaizyousei.pdf

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@UR22335 Thanks for taking the time. Much appreciated.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Funny... I don't remember reading any articles about the decreasing crimes by foreigners over the preceding 8 years.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

whining whining...Due to racial profiling? I dont think so. I think this figure is true and the number of crimes by foreingers is increasing. This is mainly becuase the number of foreign visitors is increasing. More number of foreigners is in Japan, naturally more number of crimes is commited by foreigners. The number tells nothing. the rate, this article does not show, is important

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I'm pretty sure the numbers are inflated by foreigners who don't speak the language or know the culture enough to know when to walk away or that walking away is an option. The friend I mentioned before got into an argument with the staff at a bar about a bag of chips that ended in a screaming match and police taking him away. I'm sure that at any point if he'd just said "Sorry" and maybe forked over 200 yen for chips he didn't eat as a "don't go to jail" tax it would have just ended up as a funny story... Still, as an African-American I'll say that even if it is some form of benign racism...it's better than having kids getting killed for wearing a hoody at night, or playing music too loud. IMHO

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Get off the anti-American military crap... with the unfortunate exception of some real idiots and high profile rape cases... the U.S. Military in Japan, per capita, commit much less crime than the Japanese. But you go on believing and spewing uninformed statements all you like... after time no one will listen when they've figured out how little you know.

( On February 12, 2008, the National Police Agency (of Japan) or NPA, released its annual criminal statistics that included activity within the Okinawan prefecture. These findings held American soldiers responsible for 53 crimes per 10,000 U.S. male servicemen, while Okinawan males held a crime rate of 366 crimes per 10,000. The crime rate found a U.S. servicemen in Okinawa to be 86% less likely to commit a crime than that of an Okinawan male. )

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Both Japanese and Foreigners do commit crime and get arrested. I never understand why people would commit crime. No reason is good for one to commit crime.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I know I'm going against the grain here, and this might be a bit shocking to some, but...maybe these people did actually commit crimes to keep up with the inflation/higher cost of living?

Get off the anti-American military crap... >

Give me a break. If even one US serviceman/woman commits a crime it is unacceptable because they are simply additions to the already present criminal statistics. Sorry, but Japan doesn't need an extra 53 crimes a year on top of what they already have.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I feel like people are taking this a little too personal, its a simple, little statistic. So what if it's headline news, so is a bunch of ridiculous celebrity crap. Correct me if I'm wrong but hasn't there been an increase in foreigners living/visiting Japan as well? wouldn't those two statistics coincide with one another?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Where is the actual flow through correlation, from suspicion to arrest to charge to court conviction statics?.

Where is the presumption of innocence?

Homo praesumitur bonus donec probetur malus

'One is innocent until proven guilty'

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The figures do not include arrests of foreigners with permanent residency status and members of the U.S. military stationed in Japan.

Doesn't that mean they are "visitors" or "Tourists". And then is his really up if tourism is up?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Theses stats could be directly related to the annual round of Justice and National Police Agency public spending commitments. Taking a quick glance at wiki the only quotes are for 2005/6 ¥258,344M (FY 2005/6). The NPA like any law enforcement agency has to justify and presenting their annual spending requirement.

This is 'Vis-à-vis' for any law enforcement agency globally. Looking again at the published stats above , one key element is missing annual conviction rates

Japan has some of the lowest recorded crime rates in the world, so it is likely that the NPA will need to 'focus group' public perception to crime, then compile the stats accordingly. Any Racial profiling is somewhat of a red herring. Surprised the NPA missed a trick though, the 'how we are doing' stats is a favourite with the Met in London.

Wondering if the NPA passed JT the NPA recorded crime statistics, wondering also if I can have a peek. let moi have a pop at writing them up, dream on lolol

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes indeed zichi, the NPA would have a tough job in persuading government to part with new tax payer finance, if overall crime conviction rates start to fall, hence the headline arrest statistics, i.e. the resource commitment to crime prevention.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan is the only country I know of that would make a headline out of this kind of statistic.

It isn't Japan that is making this a headline.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Many here have brought up good points on why to treat these statistics with a grain of salt. But one more key part of the article bears repeating:

"the number of foreigners arrested on suspicion of committing crimes"

Arrests, NOT convictions. Why no comparisons with the number of convictions for comparison? And since police are hyper-vigilant in spotting and questioning people who appear to be foreign nationals, the data seems very questionable.

6 ( +7 / -1 )


There might be misunderstanding of your comment but conviction rate in Japan seems very high according to the wikipedia of conviction rate. It is said to be above 99%. Maybe you are talking about prosecution rate? But even prosecution rate I could not find your stat. If you can, could you tell me where you got the stat? I think it's wrong to criticize foreigners for rising arrest numbers, and I am sorry if you have true stat that I was not able to find, but I don't think it is good to tell false stat either.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Only in Japan would you get a statistic like this one!

1 ( +2 / -1 )


All reported crimes probably means 認知件数(ninchi kensuu) in Japanese. But I cannot understand how you are calculating crime solving rate. Dividing numbers of criminals found guilty by the number of all reported crimes? Can you give me the source if possible, because that will be quicker if its on the net.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I got what you meant. You are probably talking about kenkyo ritu of standard criminal law in Japan. Which according to the article I saw is 29.8% in 2013. It was my mistake and sorry I could not understand crime solving rate in Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just wondering if NPA have the powers to 'stop and search' ?

Japan does indeed have crime rates that the UK Police would be proud of.

Just as a comparison..

London Metropolitan Police crime + mapping statistic full breakdown.


Rolling data for 2012 - 2013, 2013 - 2014 year ending

fixed from 2000 2012

0 ( +0 / -0 )

there is statisatic that show that the number of crimes per capita. Japanese rate is higher than that of foreigners. as danalawton1 pointed out US servicemen are 86% less likely to commit a crime compared to native Okinawa men. funny how they never state these stats in the media. fact is Japanese are more criminal in Japan than foreigners are. LOL

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I should have been more clear with my comment. The crime solving rate out of all reported crimes is 28% which compared with other developed countries is very low.

I sincerely doubt it.


検挙 which is where the stats comes from is simply not just an arrest but also includes case being submitted to the prosecutors.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I know nothing of the link you have provided. I used the annual reports from the NPA and I have already stated the crime clearance rate is about 25-30%.

Which you stated was "one of the lowest in the world" or "compared with other developed countries is very low" which a simple figure from the link above state otherwise.

I'm simply correcting your misconception.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

The figures do not include arrests of foreigners with permanent residency status and members of the U.S. military stationed in Japan.

Why not? Don't they count as "foreigners" too?

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I think you are right that crime solving rate in Japan is one of the lowest in developed nations. But you should also know that larceny is the most common crime in standard criminal law of Japan and it amount to about 75% of all violations of criminal law in 2012. And at the same time the crime solving rate of larceny is one of the lowest among violation of criminal law which is bringing down the whole crime solving rate. I think things are similar in other nations also. And there are other developed nations with low crime solving rate if you look here http://hakusyo1.moj.go.jp/jp/60/nfm/images/full/h1-4-1-01.jpg You can argue that moj manipulated stat to show they are not doing bad, but then I think you should show which part of this stat is being manipulated. Also, I am doubtful whether criticizing heavily toward police for low crime solving rate is going to cause good effect. If you go to far, they might start making more cases like Hakamada, in that sense I am against supremacy of crime solving rate, though I think it is better if it is higher.


I agree with you that the rate matters more than number but I think it is difficult to calculate rate when many visitors do not stay in Japan the whole year. So it is easier to find crime rate of foreigners who have residency(at least temporary) in Japan like the US soldiers or Korean people who are living in Japan. And there are stats like that as danalawton pointed out. But the data of this article is about visitors, as Fadamor has pointed out, so things are little bit different, in my opinion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

as Churchill said, "There are lies, damn lies and statistics."

I supose he could have said it, but the famous quote is actually by Mark Twain

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What percentage were visa violations?

Are visa violations not crimes?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'm living in Korea town and agree with the police statistics. Gotta watch your back here. You guys really don't see a difference in crime committed by Japanese and non-Japanese? Warehouses with open doors practically unguarded downtown. Unimaginable in Los Angeles. You guys gotta get out more. Crime is low here and the Japanese are the reason.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The problem isn't the police agency publishing annual statistics, it's the media cherry picking one data point and presenting it with no context whatsoever.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Overstaying your visa is a crime and shouldn't be dismissed so easily. No, it isn't rape or murder - but neither is shoplifting. It is still a crime and shows a lack of respect for your host country. If you are a foreign national living in Japan just obey the law and don't sweat it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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