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kuchikomi

Japanese urged to take pride in their safe society

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When the media report on violent crime, juvenile delinquency and other social problems, it's common to see such terms as "kyuzo" (rapidly increasing), "kyoaku-ka" (becoming more vicious) and "teinenrei-ka" (occurring from an earlier age) appearing in headlines.

But such assertions don't coincide with the statistical data, writes Koichi Hamai, a professor of law at Kyoto's Ryukoku University in the biweekly magazine Sapio (July 8). Hamai's essay is one of several that take up the theme "Nihonjin de Yokatta" (it's good to be Japanese).

Hamai is convinced the print and broadcast media are responsible for advancing a growing perception that Japan's public order is on the decline. As an example he cites a "Yoron Chosa" survey by the Prime Minister's office taken in 2006, in which 84.3% of the respondents voiced belief that law and order had declined from 10 years earlier.

That high figure, Hamai believes, was inflated by two major incidents in the mid-1990s: the toxic nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system by members of the Aum religious cult in March 1995, and the arrest of 14-year-old serial killer "Sakakibara Seito," who terrorized Kobe in the spring of 1997. The former raised the awareness that anyone might be vulnerable to crimes against the person; the latter persuaded the public that crimes by juveniles were becoming increasingly vicious and occurring from an earlier age.

Nevertheless, Hamai points out using eight graphs and tables, statistical data provide no evidence that Japan's law and order situation is deteriorating. Take homicides, which in Japan in 2006 had declined to 1.1 per 100,000 people, from 1.2 two years previously. The corresponding rates are 3.2 in France, 3.0 in Germany, 2.6 in the UK and 5.7 in the U.S.

Rates for crimes by juveniles are not increasing as a percentage of overall crimes; nor do they show any tendency to occur from an earlier age.

Hamai also points out that rates for crimes by non-Japanese -- most of which involve violations of the immigration laws or misdemeanors -- are "extremely low" relative to the total number of crimes, and there's nothing to suggest they are increasing.

How then, can the public's view be so out of whack with the official figures? Hamai lays the blame squarely on overdramatization by the mass media. In Hamai's own research conducted in 2006, 50% of his subjects agreed that "crime has increased nationwide over the previous two years"; but when asked if they felt crime had increased in their own neighborhood, only 4% replied yes.

Rather than confine reporting to the particulars of specific incidents, the media provoke a sense of crisis through shrill remarks about "the decline of morals (among youth)" or how "Japan is being targeted (by foreigners)" ---treating specific incidents as symbolic of the overall malaise pervading Japan.

Hamai concludes with a plea for society to devote efforts that better reflect social changes, such as through proactive measures to discourage crimes by the elderly due to poverty and alienation.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Hamai lays the blame squarely on overdramatization by the mass media

spot on I would say. Not sure that is a word though :-)

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if it bleeds, it leads. good news is not news.

etc.

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Cosmology Of Fear.

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Thanks JT

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Great issue to bring up!

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Statistics show pretty clear increases in crime, especially amongst youths and foreigners.

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Way to buck the trend JT! Sapio and you should be commended for publishing this perspective. More of the same, please.

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Statistics show pretty clear increases in crime, especially amongst youths and foreigners.

Can you back this up with any samples of said "statistics?"

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Don't understand why Hamai has picked up old data of 2006 (including his own research)...He should tell us what is the situation now after taking into account Oct.08 global meltdown, Japan's double digit negative GDP.

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He should tell us what is the situation now after taking into account Oct.08 global meltdown

well the year is not over.. not enough data collected to produce a number

Finally, someone pointing out blatant blame on the media. Even with all the daily "crime" stories we see in JT, you can compare it all to a single day in a single small city in the US. By comparison to the rest of the world, this country (Japan) is like some innocent choir boys.

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Don't tell ol' Gov. Ishihara this information! He may not be able to win another election without the fear sensu waving!

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Finally, someone pointing out blatant blame on the media. Even with all the daily "crime" stories we see in JT, you can compare it all to a single day in a single small city in the US. By comparison to the rest of the world, this country (Japan) is like some innocent choir boys.

bear in mind that japan has less than half the population of the US. there are still a pretty constant stream of unpleasant crimes here

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yeah but percentage wise.. plus, like i said, the japan NATIONAL crime stats read like a single small/medium US city stats

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Much crime is not reported, I suspect. In advanced countries like the US, police only get to hold suspects for 48 hours, by which time they must file formal charges.

In Japan, they get 3 weeks. So for crimes like theft, public nuisance, etc, they keep someone in jail for a couple of weeks "to teach 'em a lesson" then let 'em go with no charges filed. Thus crime stats are unaffected and Japan appears as "safety country."

Formal charges require paperwork, lawyers, etc., which cops here prefer to avoid.

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It may be safe, but brutality and way of crimes seems to be on a higher level than somewhere. At least, the law against juvenile delinquency is not strikt enough...

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Nice article. Please re-publish Mr. Hamai's essay and charts.

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Much crime is not reported, I suspect.

i suspect this too. people don't want to be meiwaku by standing up for themselves and going to the police. or they don't believe the police will do anything

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japan is not safe anymore, lots of lunatics and perverts.

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You can actually make statistics say anything you want them to, and the very fact that this guys essay is "one of several that takes up the theme Nihonjin de Yokatta" suggests to me an element of bias in his researach and reporting. Which came first, the title or the stats? My bet is on the title because no-one wants to read a report entitled "Nihonjin de Kawaiso" do they??!

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Hamai lays the blame squarely on overdramatization by the mass media

...and by the National Police Agency.

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Japan is safer than many countries but Japan is certainly not as safe as it was 10-15 years ago.

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Statistics are useful but its important to know how they were gathered, what criteria are being used etc.

Having said that, in my experience I have found Japan to be wonderful as far as violent crimes (murder, assault, armed robbery etc), and not so wonderful as far as sex crimes (panty stealing, groping, sexual harassment, rape, stalking etc).

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My wife has told me some horror stories about when she used to go to high school in Tokyo. Some really sexually perverted people on the trains here, so she and her friends would make a group in the middle of the trains to protect each other. But even after numerous incidents none of them ever complained to the police.

I guess she must be one of the few Japanese who doesn't think Japan is a safe country at all.

As has been reported on several JT articles previously, forensics here lags behind many countries, and police seem to be only interested in reaching their quotas for paperwork each month to avoid any extra work.

And on a cultural level many Japanese would rather avoid the "fuss" of making a complaint to the the police or a court, which gives Japan a very biased low crime rate I think.

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The same day JT posts about 500 security cameras going up and an increase in crimes...

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i wouldn't characterize is as a safe society, but an insular discriminatory society that views anything other than Japanese as below their interest. With few outlets of experience, the youth of Japan I find to be crude and rude, although not a majority. If women actually reported abuse all his happy statistics would come to a crashing end. It's appalling the amount of sexual abuse women take as if they have to take it. But such the standards in Japan for women are so low, they can't even fight back. That's nothing to be proud of.

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Given the number of knife attacks, which takes real committment, if Japanese had access to guns the per 100,000 rate would be much higher, as well the suicide rate would probably double. That's just by virtue of the gun, not about the society per se. Not having guns then is a major component of these statistics and clouds over many issues.

yes it is a peaceful country for those at peace and I'm glad I have had the experience to live in such a beautiful country for a time. There is much to enjoy and appreciate in Japan.

However given that there is such little outlet for complaints and justice, much of that safety can only ever be a facade of what is in place in other countries.

much of the Hamai-san's complaints can be rectified with a publication law that mandates the statistical margin for error 19 times out of 20. Or building up standards of media to remove overexaggeration, but that would end many news channels as well as political motives.

Is Japan safe? Of course it is, but hardly to the extent that would be suggested.

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Homicide rates are given "per capita" to eliminate disparities between population sizes. That said, I'm not sure looking over the change between only two years is going to give an accurate picture. Japan's homicide rate was 1.2 per 100,000 people in 2004 and 1.1 per 100,000 people in 2006. What if 2005 had 1.8 people killed per 100,000? You can't realistically determine a trend from only two data points. I would have much more respect for a report that uses at least 10 year's-worth of data to back up its conclusions.

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Much crime is not reported, I suspect. In advanced countries like the US, police only get to hold suspects for 48 hours, by which time they must file formal charges.

NPA reports both the number of reported crimes and # of arrested for those each crimes. Even if you take the former figure, it's still disproportionatly smaller than other developed nations. And I would argue that in cases of theft and public nuisance, Japan reports it to the authorities a lot more than others simply because of the availability of kobans in close proximity to neighborhoods.

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Even if the Japanese crime rate is under reported, which may very well be, the crime rate was mostly under reported for a very long time. That would mean that the statistical data Koichi Hamai used could still validly show a downturn in crime because the information is standardized in it's under reporting. I don't find it that hard to beleive, where I live the crime rate has been going down but they seems to be a steady increase in the society is going to hell in hand basket crowd, which is fully to blame on sensationalized news reporting.

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Media over-stating crime? What else is new. Despite the inevitable nitpicking from some about unreported crime, I've always felt safe in Japan. We have the same problem with media hype here in Toronto, another relatively safe place, but still less so than Japan. Anecdotal example, the Tokyo Metro ads asking people to have better manners by not blocking seats, etc, compared to the ones on the Toronto subway warning of iPod theft and that spitting on transit drivers is considered Assault and will be prosecuted

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sf2k

i wouldn't characterize is as a safe society, but an insular discriminatory society that views anything other than Japanese as below their interest

so it's safe to say, whatever the reality is, you've got an agenda to push and by golly, you're gonna push it.

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sf2k

i wouldn't characterize is as a safe society, but an insular discriminatory society that views anything other than Japanese as below their interest

Oh dear. Red herring? While true to an extent (and true in many other parts of the world too), the issue at hand is crime in Japan. Safest country in the world. Never have I felt so safe. The media instigates the culture of fear, but seriously, I can leave my house unlocked and windows open (as do my neighbours). Doing that in my native Chile would be unthinkable.

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I agree, stats can be manipulated. And we don't know much about unreported crimes where shame or fear prevents the person from reporting it.

Likewise, the most serious crime in Japan is corruption. I think those real numbers would be pretty scary.

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True statistics don't exist in Japan.The country seems to "make up" all kinds of stats just to give the world the image that Japan is a peaceful developed country...The insecurity here borders on paranoia.Anyone who has lived here for more than a year would see it.

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'safe' is a misleading word.If you are a woman then Japan is probably not so safe,if you are a young kid then Japan is probably not so safe and if you have an outstanding money issue with someone then it can be dicey for some but if you are a big foreign bloke then Japan is a lot safer than being among bigger foreign blokes back home on a Saturday night. I would be paranoid bringing up a young daughter here because of the sickos and rampant pedo culture,but on the same token I would be worried to bring a son up in my own country of Australia for fear of him being beaten,stabbed or shot as he grew older. There seem to be a lot more people with mental illness here but the Japanese as a rule do not get aggressive when they drink and that to me is a redeeming feature of the Japanese.Cannot say that about Australia.

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In Tokyo I feel safe staggering home at 1am from the station... would I feel the same in London? Nope.... so that answers it all!

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I agree that women and children are at the most risk here. Also corruption, which is rampant in government and law enforcement and business, is not reported, simply because they get away with it.

I do think this is a safe country, I feel more safe here walking alone at night than I would back home, but thats probably because of the city I lived in. BUt that said,in contrast to sereofreaks claim, Japan is ranked as the 7th safest country on the global peace index, which I believe is a far more accurate assesment than just taking the homiside rate of two years. Look up the criteria on wikipedia if you want, it seems very thourough.

So, Japan went from 5th to 7th. While NZ, my home country went to number 1. And yet I still feel safer here? Maybe I dont spend enough time in bigger cities in Japan. Maybe its the type of crime. I might get beat up back home, but I wouldnt get murdered randomly. If I was a girl I would not be felt up on public transport. And if I was a child I would have less to worry about from lecherous elders. Oh yeah, I could also trust my government and neighbours more( depending on the neighbourhood). Why? Japanese often dont even know thier neighbours name,but rather try to pretend they dont exist. THe fact that someone is less likely to help you here when you are in trouble also points to a reason why it is down to number 7.

But hey, America ranks at 83, Aussie at 19, obviously Japan, while going slightly down the crapper is still not too bad at number 7.

SO, not unsafe to the extent claimed by the media, nor as great and golden as claimed by this tool with insufficient stats. Gee its great to be Japanese, but that doesnt mean you cant improve.

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All I heard before I got here was how non-existent crime is in Japan. 1st year here my wallet was stolen. In the authors defense, although I see his intent as naked intent to twist facts to show how wonderful Japan and the Japanese peoples are... AT LEAST he DIDNT resort to the popular stance which holds that real crime is only committed by foreigners...

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Kuroyama- Somebody stole your wallet here? Where? I'd like to know so I can stay far away from wherever that is. As far as women go, as a 5'7 white girl, I feel safe here. If I'm wrong,though, I also know self-defense tactics and krav maga, so it's a win-win.

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Hamai also points out that rates for crimes by non-Japanese—most of which involve violations of the immigration laws or misdemeanors—are “extremely low” relative to the total number of crimes, and there’s nothing to suggest they are increasing.

glad someone with some sense has said this. Japan is comparatively a very safe country, there's really no denying it.

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flatearther: I think not many Japanese men have the cahones to approach, let alone molest a Foreign woman. They generally like to target OLs and school girls. 5'7 is also probably the same height as many of them.

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notimpressed- Honestly? You pretty much have the right idea. Too bad I can't say that about my home country, try walking to a convenience store in any big city in America at 3 in the morning. You might as well wear a shirt saying "Hello I enjoy being robbed and violently assaulted" and chances are good at 3 in the morning that it'll happen. My point is compared to most countries, like Britain and the U.S, for a foreigner it's practically crime-free. For all the whining people can legitimately do about the state of affairs in Japan, crime? It's a non-starter in my book.

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flatearther - well said!

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True statistics don't exist in Japan.The country seems to "make up" all kinds of stats just to give the world the image that Japan is a peaceful developed country.

This country has no child porn problem, very low unemployment, very few rapes, very little crime, relatively little overwork, and little corruption. According to the data, that is.

It also has 100% literacy. According to the data, that is. But don't ask Japanese how to write 識字率 by hand. They can't do that.

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japan is safer than most countries but has been on a downward spiral for the past 15-20 yrs

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I always think more japanese should spend more time abroad....

....then they would realise the good and bad things about their country ...and not throw that away as its rare and or unique in some instances. ..especially the kids.

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I agree flatearther. Makes one want to never visit America. But I do keep my peripheral vision turned up high when standing at the train platform.

In the few years I've been here though, as a male, I've only had one or two weak attempts at intimidation, and always by groups of young guys against one of me, while in my home country, supposedly at number one on the safe list, it would have been much more direct, and probably have ended in violence. IN fact, the only violence I have encountered here has been from other foreigners. Oh wait,there was that young drunk kid at a bar, who had a big brother, which made him think he was god.

aaanyway,

I would still recommend women to be wary of being alone with Japanese men they do not know well. Unless they can kick ass like flatearther.

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I always think more japanese should spend more time abroad....

and will understand that it is alright to look at a woman directly and admire, rather than pretend that you are not looking and look stealthily.Any way the ladies wear revealing clothes to be admired, so go ahead and look. Don't pretend that you are clean or something.

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typical japanese contradicting themselves again. how can one take pride in a safe society when there is violence abound?

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if you are a young kid then Japan is probably not so safe

compared to where? Where else do primary school age children go by themselves on the metro half way across a capital city to get to school?

May not be as safe as it was 20 years ago but I will take it over London, Paris, NY etc

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@DeepAir65: the tokyo metro area may not be as dangerous as toronto,london, ny, paris and so on yet it is not safe like some may hope it to be. the children in japan's metro areas are at risk and the japanese need to recognize this, not pretend they live in the safest planet on earth.

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Seems the most unsafe area in Japan is your own house,and dangerous people your own family....if you're Japanese.

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if you are a big foreign bloke then Japan is a lot safer than being among bigger foreign blokes back home on a Saturday night.

quite true. i often feel that the reason i'm so safe in this country is because people are more likely to be frightened of me rather than vice versa. there seems to be little violent crime in japan, however murder and violence within the uchi (families, workplaces, schools) is constantly reported on this site. i think the nature of violent crime is rather different in japan but by no means rare

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And also take pride in all your CCTVs!

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another problem with the whole "japan is a safety country" is that it's yet another nihonjinrin-inspired tactic of social control. another countries are so dangerous and japan is so safety ergo there is something pure and unique about the japanese spirit ergo if you're japanese you have to stay in japan and stay away from anything dirty, dangerous and foreign

there are lies, damned lies and statistics. i spent 22 years living the uk, supposedly a hotbed of violence and murder, yet was never a victim of crime... statistics mean nothing if you happen to have the misfortune of choosing to do a little electronics shopping in akihabara on the same sunday some lunatic from the countryside decides to go on a knifing spree

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another problem with the whole "japan is a safety country" is that it's yet another nihonjinrin-inspired tactic of social control. another countries are so dangerous and japan is so safety ergo there is something pure and unique about the japanese spirit ergo if you're japanese you have to stay in japan and stay away from anything dirty, dangerous and foreign

Maybe you should stop with your own "Nihonjinron" rant?

The article was written to counter just the opposite of what you were referring to in that there are too many over hyped media portraying the Japanese society in a negative light as the author states in the original title from Sapio "自虐的国家観" (masochistic view of your own country).

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The only violence I've ever experienced in Japan were from other foreigners.

One idiot Aussie sucker-punched me in a bar because he didn't like my glasses. Another time an English guy started pushing me, trying to pick a fight, saying that I was cheap to let my date pay for my ramen at a yatai. She only happened to be my wife, but hey! Also, the only violence I have personally witnessed in my 11 years here has been between foreigners, mostly in Roppongi.

I find all the jealousy about these statistics to be quite pathetic. Aren't you guys embarrassed to make yourselves look like a bunch of whiners? Seriously! The amount of whingeing going on here is hilarious. So Japan is safer than your home country, suck it up and enjoy it! Or is it really just too much to bear?

Maybe you want to fight about it? lol

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however murder and violence within the uchi (families, workplaces, schools) is constantly reported on this site. i think the nature of violent crime is rather different in japan but by no means rare

Brilliant. You fit the classic definition "Rather than confine reporting to the particulars of specific incidents, the media provoke a sense of crisis "

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Once the oil depletion hits hard and Japan along with the rest of the world is rocked back to deal with energy on a more serious more local level, you will find out just how safe Japan really is. Structurally Japan will be fine along with Europe. But will it blame foreigners or will it engage them? You decide.

if in the end you have to leave because you fear for your own safety or the safety of your family you will only then realize that you should have spent more time trying to improve human rights in Japan.

If possible however that human rights are of a high enough standard for you then maybe my concerns will mean nothing.

Unfortunately we cannot know until we have hindsight.

Crime is an act of frustration on some level, and how a society handles it is the question. Japan has succeeded in bottling up its frustrations and only during events will the real Japan show up.

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I have to wonder, reading the comments. Those of us on the board who are married to Japanese and have Japanese kids and worry about crime, have you ever tried to teach them basic self-defense? It's not difficult, and there are fighting styles out there that don't even require any muscle whatsoever. Krav Maga was developed to be used by people of all ages and fitness styles. I'm just saying, it seems like madness to me that Japanese people and even westerners don't bother to do anything to gain the skills they could use to protect themselves and instead spend all their time worrying. Why?

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flatearther, isn't Krav Maga an Israeli martial art? Why would anyone need it in Japan? There are hardly any Jews or Muslims in Japan, and perhaps more remarkably the ones living here seem to have picked up the virus of nonviolence from their hosts, as I don't think I've ever heard of an incident when they fought it out in Japan.

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Flatearther, yes, good point. I do it myself and plan to teach my kids. They're still tiny tots, though. Any suggestions on a good age to start?

Beelzebub, it's just a simplified self-defense system, useful anywhere.

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@sydenham; you are right about aussies and brits, they do have the aggressive streak in them, so that part I agree on with you, yet I have to add that i've seen japanese lads having a go at each other and also having a go at some foreign nationals. it happens, but it is rarely reported because it doesn't fit the faux mold of japanese as being passive.

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@sydenham: my Japanese boyfriend lifted a wrongly parked bicycle that was blocking his car and threw it over the other parked bicycles!! He saw that I was shocked and he said that he knows where the cameras were and will not get caught!!

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the japanese sure have a peculiar version of what safety is. they have to be safe from non-japanese by being aggressive toward them. hmmmm, typical japanese spin. nip it in the bud by doing the same thing you rail about. typical contradictory japanese.

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@beelzebub- Yes, it is an Israeli fighting style, developed when Israel was young and developing the military, therefore the system had to be based on simple movements, disregarding the strength and muscle of the user. As for why it would be useful here, I did direct my post towards those who worry about their family's safety. Also, self defense methods from any culture can be used against any race of attacker, to assume otherwise is frankly, asinine. Are you suggesting I have to know judo if I am ever attacked by a Japanese person? As far as "fighting it out" goes, I can't imagine where you got that idea. I don't condone violence, but I certainly don't condone stupidity or people who are unprepared, either. I know self-defense for the same reason I have an earthquake kit in my apt., because I may need it someday, even though I hope I never do. @sydenham- As for when to start self-defense teaching, I think perhaps around the age of 6 or 7 is a good time to start, but it really depends on the child. As long as your child can be disciplined and responsible (no fights on the playground, showing off, etc.) they can learn basic defense moves. It can instill them with the virtues of confidence in their abilities and respect for others, which are only good things.

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@nigelboy - my point is that, whether it's true or not, the notion that japan is a "safe country" is political at its heart. otherwise what would be the point of saying it?

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flatearther I agree with you totally. Learn self defence. Gives you confidence and peace of mind. Myself, I'm into boxing and wresting but it doesn't matter which art or style you go for as long as it works for you.

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Its safe if you're a gerown up, to some degree. If you are a child, it isn't safe, thansk to the recent story of two parents leaving their children to broil in the car while they went into the house and snoozed.

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I agree with Potsu True statistics do not exist in Japan. Politicians (mostly LDP) have abused and manipulated them for years, according to their own political aganda. There are many unreported crimes in Japan, for fear of the police/yakuza. As a longterm resident of Japan, I can definately see an increase in crimes of all kinds in this "beautiful" land.

This professor`s essay was part of a "Nihonjin de yokatta" lump of mindless nationalistic propaganda and lies. Im sorry, but some of you do nnot seem to be observing the real Japan around you. I have lived here for a long time, and I love Japan and its culture, but the deterioration at all levels makes me very sad. Crimes have definately increased. Violence and aggression are also on the rise. Bullying is a way of life here, part of the culture, and it is getting worse, too. The quality of life of the average Japanese is appalling. This collection of essays is just a method of propaganda, to convince the Japanese people that their land is perfect and that it is great to be a Japanese. Many of them swallow those lies, becuase the education system here is rotten and does not teach them to think for themselves, only to mindlessly accept what is offered to them by "professors" and other such people, without question.

The truth is very diffrerent. Have some of you not been reading the news during the past few years? despite what this "professor" claims, vicious, brutal crimes of violence are increasing among Japanese families. There are almost daily reports of violence and murder. The Yakuza do whatever the hell they like, while the police turn a blind eye. Sex crimes are also increasing, and many are unreported. A foreign friend of mine was brutally raped in her apartment one evening a few years ago, and reported it to the J-police, only to be accused of lying, and chided that "things like that dont happen in Japan."

Im sorry, but although some of you are still lookking at Japan thru rose-tainted glasses, others like me are not.

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some of you are still lookking at Japan thru rose-tainted glasses, others like me are not

Correct, you're looking at Japan through crap-coloured glasses, which is just as bad, if not worse.

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"A foreign friend of mine was brutally raped in her apartment one evening a few years ago, and reported it to the J-police, only to be accused of lying, and chided that "things like that dont happen in Japan.""

but, but, but how could this be surely your friend is lying. surely is was koreans or chinese, certainly not japanese. japanese people are very kind and generous who would do no such thing. remember people, wwII was not that long ago and a nation just does not change that quickly and if I may say so it looks as if j-land is headed back that way.

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Many comments are pointing that a lot of crimes are not reported, which is, I guess, true.

In Western countries, danger is coming from people you don't know and you've never seen.

In Japan, you won't be stabbed by a stranger who wants your sneakers, but danger is in your house, from the drunk ojisan groping his granddaughter to the hysteric mother who slaughter her kid, because it's "too much too handle", etc... That's the old story that Japan is clean, safe, with a brutal undertone. You can line up as many koban as you can, all this hystery with those citizen patrol "to protect the kids" may continue, but Japan is defnitely having some issues when it's about family and relationships. They definitely are affectively handicaped.

Japan is a place made by and for japanese males, where they can do almost whatever they want as long as they follow the code. In Japan, pedophilia under certain aspects, public drunkness, racist comments and invading and raping half of a continent are not crimes; on the other hand, smoking pot is a form of social suicide. I could see many japanese male "expats" in Europe where they were so desperate for Kabukicho and Kabakura that they went depressed. Knowing that crimes are not reported is I guess a kind of agreement between japanese male citizen and japanese male policemen. Knowing that some foreigners are getting along with their women and that some chinese are actually better than them at saving money and that more and more J-Women are dynamic, crafty, english-speaking business women are just making them unsafe. They are just plain unsecure and those news about the starving ojiisan stealing an apple and the littering Chineses are just here to comfort them that whatever they do, whatever horrible "$+JT" they do, they are still the mighty homo japonicus.

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@GenevaMan; love the wording lad. well said.

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One question about all those talking about "unreported crime" - where is all this unreported crime being reported, given that you all seem to know so much about it?

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In Japan, you won't be stabbed by a stranger who wants your sneakers, but danger is in your house, from the drunk ojisan groping his granddaughter to the hysteric mother who slaughter her kid, because it's "too much too handle", etc... That's the old story that Japan is clean, safe, with a brutal undertone. You can line up as many koban as you can, all this hystery with those citizen patrol "to protect the kids" may continue, but Japan is defnitely having some issues when it's about family and relationships. They definitely are affectively handicaped.

I say prove it but I doubt you could come up with the figures so I'll paraphrase the excerpt from this article.

Rather than confine comments to the particulars of specific incidents, the JT crowd provoke a sense of crisis through shrill remarks about “the decline of morals in Japan” treating specific incidents as symbolic of the overall malaise pervading Japan as means to let out their frustrations.

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I would agree with those who say that the statistics are unreliable, and that no conclusions can be drawn from them, one way or another. When some elementary school kid does something gruesome, of course the newspapers and TV networks report it. They should report it, not pretend it didn't happen. Japan is still relatively safe, so there should be no problem about taking pride in that, but yes, when there are two or three particularly awful crimes in a week, people do come to the conclusion that things are not improving.

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japan is and is not a safe society. i personally don't feel that it is any safer or more dangerous than north america. incidentally, i've never had a violent experience in north america or europe until i came to japan. seems to me that japanese have an obvious pent up aggression toward non-japanese.

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hamiltontruther Agreed. I can see some of the pent-up aggression every day on the trains of Tokyo. I would say its getting worse. Japan is a scary place, actually, with many people afraid to speak out about things in case they end up being knifed by some fruticake salariman with a grudge.

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bottom line is that I feel a damn site safer walking home from the station at midnight in a Tokyo suburb than I did in a London suburb.

I don't watch the Japanese news but there must be a lot of scare mongering going on there as my wife would like to leave her home country of Japan because it is not safe anymore - to where?

Ridiculous - there are nutters everywhere!

It is good to here a Japanese guy saying that the foreign crime is not all its cracked up to be and largely visa related and not violent.

Hamai also points out that rates for crimes by non-Japanese—most of which involve violations of the immigration laws or misdemeanors—are “extremely low” relative to the total number of crimes, and there’s nothing to suggest they are increasing.

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There are crimes that are under-reported everywhere. Not exclusive to Japan. So to talk about unreported and unacknowledged crimes is largely conjectural. But murder is considered to be least under-reported among vicious crimes including robbery, arson and rape. And acknowledged murder cases are actually decreasing in Japan. Even robbery and arson happened less often in former days.

Year: No. of murder cases: Rate of incidence per 100 thousand people

1950: 3076: 3.697

1960: 2648: 3.044

1970: 1986: 2.069

1980: 1684: 1.333

1990: 1238: 1.002

2000: 1391: 1.116

2008: 1297: 0.948

Another striking point in crimes in Japan, against all counter-arguments or guesswork, is that the underaged people commit crimes far less often than their counterparts in other countries and even less often than the older generation of this country. Though I'm not urged to take pride anywhere in this context, at least one thing might be certain, that is, we better sometimes take time to compare the feeling of reality with statistics instead of just swallowing or rejecting either of them.

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Oh, sorry, correction; I had thought otherwise too.

Even robbery and arson happened more often in former days.

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A few years back, when my mates and I were drinking in Osaka way past our bedtime, I got the notion to heave a bicycle at a garbage truck. I was shocked at the garbage truck driver`s reaction as he got out of the truck and shouted at me and then slapped the taste out of my mouth. Good thing my mates held me back or he woulda been sorry.

So, in closing. Japan - a safe country? I don`t think so.

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A few years back, when my mates and I were drinking in Osaka way past our bedtime, I got the notion to heave a bicycle at a garbage truck. I was shocked at the garbage truck driver`s reaction as he got out of the truck and shouted at me and then slapped the taste out of my mouth. Good thing my mates held me back or he woulda been sorry.

wait a minute... you got drunk and tried to throw a bicycle at a truck and are surprised that you angered the driver? reality check: if you want to go around acting like a drunken a-hole, expect to the less-than-meek side of the japanese.

if you wouldn't do it back home, don't do it here

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Well-said Griffin. Japan is a safe country relative to others, but drunken idiocy will not result in Zen-like tolerance. Plus personal anecdotes count for squat, as does the paranoia and xenophobia a few posters have displayed.

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@Stanley50- Try throwing anything at a truck in America or Britain, you'll get more than a pottymouth and a hangover, my friend. Japan-a safe country? For respectful people who know better than to throw things like children, drunk or sober? Yes.

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A few years back, when my mates and I were drinking in Osaka way past our bedtime, I got the notion to heave a bicycle at a garbage truck. I was shocked at the garbage truck driver`s reaction as he got out of the truck and shouted at me and then slapped the taste out of my mouth. Good thing my mates held me back or he woulda been sorry.

Is this you in by any chance?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfTMfqvl0iQ

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Is this you in by any chance? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfTMfqvl0iQ

That`s not me.

The garbageman who slapped me was much bigger.

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A few years back, when my mates and I were drinking in Osaka way past our bedtime, I got the notion to heave a bicycle at a garbage truck. I was shocked at the garbage truck driver`s reaction as he got out of the truck and shouted at me and then slapped the taste out of my mouth. Good thing my mates held me back or he woulda been sorry.

Anata no shatsu, kowareru!

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Japan-a safe country? For respectful people who know better than to throw things like children, drunk or sober? Yes.

well... not throwing bicycles is a good way to lessen your chances of running into trouble, but is not a guarantee. our lad who got bludgeoned to death by one of his chums the other week wasn't a bicycle thrower

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Look, I learned my lesson. I`m not gonna chuck bicycles at garbage trucks ever again.

yes, indeed, Altria, watashi no shaatsu kowareru.

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Lindsay Ann Hawker didn't throw any bicycles as far as I'm aware - but she still ended up tortured, murdered and buried in a bath full of sand. Japan's safer than the US or UK I agree, but it's certainly no Shangri-La.

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It`s not safer than Hawaii apparently. Peeing in the park will net you 2 nights in lockup.

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Peeing in the park will net you 2 nights in lockup.

don't pee in the park. it's too risky you might catch a glimpse of one of the members of SMAP

boom boom!

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A few years back, when my mates and I were drinking in Osaka way past our bedtime, I got the notion to heave a bicycle at a garbage truck. I was shocked at the garbage truck driver`s reaction as he got out of the truck and shouted at me and then slapped the taste out of my mouth. Good thing my mates held me back or he woulda been sorry.

So, in closing. Japan - a safe country? I don`t think so.

The driver had every right to react the way he did. YOU were behaving like the hooligan in HIS country. In closing, the driver's trying to keep Japan safe.

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I've never had any trouble in Japan so I would say it is pretty safe. The Japanese are certainly tolerant of polite drunks. But people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw bicycles.

Women need to be careful anywhere as there are always freaks in any society. But that is still the exception to the rule.

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hell this country's filled w/ geisers, and in another ten, nearly everybody's going to be an old fart.

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