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marshalsea comments

Posted in: The serious crime rate for U.S. service members off their bases is approximately half that of the Japanese population. See in context

Statistically speaking, while crime has increased here since the economic implosion in the early 1990's, Japan remains one of the world's safest societies. The media here is largely responsible for sensationalizing the crime that does occur - they and Japanese politicians are jointly responsible for perpetuating the largely incorrect myth that foreigners (including US military) are mostly responsible for increases in Japanese crime.

When VISA infractions (like overstays) are removed from the statistics, foreigners as a whole account for a relatively SMALL proportion of crimes committed in Japan. The largest proportion is committed by Japanese nationals.

Some of the criminal activity in Japan today wasn't criminal a decade ago. There have been reforms, new laws, and changes to the ages that youth can be charged which complicate the picture and the statistics.

Unfortunately Japanese often buy into the hype, and politicians gain points by exploiting it. Over the past few years Japanese have begun pushing for more police presence around their neighborhood schools in response to media blitzes whenever something happens to a child, yet over the past decade school related crimes have decreased significantly. There's a definite disjoint between perception and statistical reality.

While I agree with Alphaape that there are some educated criminals in jails, I also believe that the higher the level of education, the lower the chance of being involved in crime. Most N.Americans in Japan need a university degree to work here, (he says much of the military have higher education too, and that's probably true) and I doubt this group (including military) contributes significantly to crime in Japan outside of VISA or other minor infractions. Foreigners in Japan are different, and as such we're convenient media and political scapegoats.

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Posted in: Unsuspecting passenger returns cannabis after sniffer dog test botched at Narita See in context

Bushlover, you're wrong on this. EricUSA is right on.

I recently flew from Canada into NRT on my way to Bangkok. My 2 tickets were issued separately - one was a purchased ticket to NRT, and the other was a free reward ticket from Narita to Bangkok. For this reason the carrier in Canada refused to check either of my bags through to Bangkok. I had to pick them both up in Narita.

So I checked 2 bags - one full of household stuff for my mansion in Japan. The other empty, for shopping in Bangkok. My connecting flight was supposed to allow me about 3 hours in Narita, where I had time to clear Japanese customs with both bags, then have the one bag bag sent from the airport by courier to my house in Japan, and then allow me time to re-check-in with my empty bag in Narita on my way to Bangkok.

As it happened, my flight from Canada arrived late into Narita and both bags were directed into the customs area without me, while I was rushed by agents through the terminal to meet my connecting flight. THAI AIRWAYS RETRIEVED MY BAGS FROM THE CUSTOMS AREA AT NARITA, then forwarded both to Bangkok, including the 22kg bag full of household stuff for Japan.

Needless to say, things go wrong, and it's very possible to have a bag pulled from the Japanese customs area to be forwarded to a final destination for a variety of reasons, as mine was last February 08. Imagine my surprise if the Japanese Drugs were discovered by Thai customs, or worse, by customs in Singapore or Indonesia.

That officer should be FIRED at very least. Possibly charged.

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