View Full Version : Crime statistics in Japan

7th August 2000, 10:07
I know this is a Budo forum. But living in Japan I am able to access some information about Japanese society's feelings about foreigners and thought some people might be interested as they are so keen on things Japanese.

Some words may not be familiar to some members of the Forum. The common term used for any person from any other country outside Japan is Gaijin (outsider)and any other country is Gaikoku (outside country) Fukuokans refers to the people of Fukuoka City, the main city on Kyushu Island

Hyakutake Colin

Erroneous Statistics Stigmatise Foreign Fukuokans

On March 3 and July 1 articles appeared in the Nishinippon Shinbun describing alarm over the high number of crimes committed by foreigners in Fukuoka. Sensational headlines claiming "Foreign Crime at Record High", and "The Downside of Internationalisation" blazed across the paper quoting figures and comments from the Fukuoka Prefectural police that organised foreign crime in Fukuoka has become a serious problem that needs special attention.

On the basis of the police report, a Fukuoka city councillor during city council question time stated that with the increase in illegal immigrants, Chinese mafia has infiltrated the Nakasu region and have joined hands with the yakuza in promoting illegal immigration and drug pushing. With foreign crime at a record high, the councillor has called for civic awareness of the surge in crimes committed by foreigners describing it as "becoming a major threat".

But the articles, and the councillors comments struck me as strange, as a foreigner living in Fukuoka, as there is not all that much crime to my knowledge. After a trip to the police to get my hands on the statistics, I found a glaring inconstancy that at best, puts egg on the face of the concerned councillor.

Crime in Japan is classified into the penal code and the special penal code. In 1999, 126 foreigners were arrested under the penal code, which was a record high. However drug and immigration related crime comes under the special penal code, and has nothing to do with the penal code, which the councillor quoted. In fact, arrests under the special penal code are at an 8 year low. His comments on drug and immigration related crime were based on unrelated statistics.

In fact, to obtain a better picture on crime, one should total the arrests under both the penal and special penal code, which would make 193 arrests in 1999, way down on the record high of 318 set in 1994.

Another question would be should gaijin crime (193 arrests) receive so much attention when 27,275 Japanese were handcuffed in 1999? Should the crime of foreigners be given so much coverage when juvenile crime (9174 arrests) is a pressing social issue?

Crime committed by foreigners is a problem, and certain preventative measures must be taken by society. However to blow it out of proportion by using erroneous statistics cannot be allowed to go unchecked, because it is not the criminals, but the foreign residents that are burdened with the stigma that such outbursts creates.