"When I hear news reports about thefts of cattle or pigs, those guys are the first thing that comes to mind," Mr T, a Tokyo realtor who specializes in housing for foreign students and technical interns, tells Asahi Geino (Nov 19). Many of whom, in the last several years, have been from Vietnam.
"Unlike Japanese, Vietnamese are easily moved to loneliness and like to congregate into groups. They think nothing of keeping on their shoes indoors, and in many cases the costs of fixing up a property after they vacate are excessive. I'd say about 90% of landlords won't deal with them.
"The ones from big cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are all right, but the ones from the countryside eat wild animals. Before, a Vietnamese from the port city of Da Nang proudly showed me 20 frogs he was keeping in the air conditioner housing. 'Don't you think they look tasty?' he asked me. Even though I told him it was prohibited to butcher animals in his pad, I doubt if he understood me."
On Oct 26, police in Ota City, Gunma Prefecture, arrested a group of Vietnamese for slaughtering a pig in their residence.
"In addition to the 39-year-old man -- the self-described operator of a karaoke salon -- who is suspected of being the ringleader, we arrested a total of 13 people in their 20s and 30s," a police source tells the magazine. "Their leader, who's referred to as the 'big boss of Gunma,' even posted a video of them cutting up the pig on a social network, followed by scenes of them barbequing the pig in the parking lot beside the apartment.
"Some of them were arrested for visa overstay, but the prefectural police are also investigating suspected animal rustling," he added.
Concealed beneath the apartment floor, police found 30 frozen chickens along with a model gun, imitation sword and aluminum baseball bat.
Since summer, farmers in northern Kanto have reported a rapid increase in thefts, including 719 pigs and large numbers of cattle and chickens.
Also during October, police arrested a Vietnamese national in Kamisato, Saitama, on suspicion of illegal animal butchering.
"He'd come to Japan two years ago on a technical trainee program," says a reporter on the local news desk. He told interrogators that he had no work due to the coronavirus pandemic and had purchased the pig via an SNS. He ate it with his compatriots.
"Some other suspects, who were also hard up for money, were caught stealing pears from an orchard," he added.
A source with ties to a yakuza gang that brokers Vietnamese workers, referred to only as "K," told the magazine the crime spree is due to the pandemic.
"The trainees can't find any part-time work," he says. And students have to pay school tuition even though they can't attend class, because it's all moved online. They're hungry. So they go online and are recruited for illegal jobs."
According to Ministry of Justice data, some 420,000 Vietnamese are in the country (as of last June), putting Vietnam in third place after Chinese (780,000) and South Koreans (430,000). But if only limited to technical trainees, Vietnamese rank in first place, with 210,000, as opposed to 80,000 Chinese and 30,000 Filipinos.
A sidebar accompanying the text lists 19 known incidents of thefts, robberies, assaults and murders committed by Vietnamese over the past two years.
"Most of the students here from China and South Korean are from fairly affluent families," says the aforementioned "K." "On the other hand, many of the Vietnamese come from the lower economic rung, and borrow as much as 2 million yen, which they pay to brokers, to get them into Japan."© Japan Today