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Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 09:50 GMT
Japan's crime rate on rise
Crime scene at Ikeda Elementary School last year
Incidents of violent crime have been especially shocking
Crime in Japan is soaring while the arrest rate of culprits is dropping, a report has shown.


This is Japan, which is called the safest country in the world. We have to seriously consider what we have to do to restore that... reputation

Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi
The number of criminal incidents committed in Japan in 2001 was up 10% from the previous year, at just over 3.58 million, the report from Japan's justice ministry said.

But the arrest rate for crimes not including traffic offences fell to 19.8% in 2001 from 23.6% a year earlier - the lowest figure since World War II.

However, the report noted that the crime rate in Japan was still well below that in other countries, with 1,925 crimes committed per 100,00 people in Japan in 2000, compared to 9,677 in Britain.

Concern

Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi nevertheless said he was worried by the new figures.

Police officer, Japan
The justice ministry says police are stretched

"This is Japan, which is called the safest country in the world. We have to seriously consider what we have to do to restore that safe reputation."

The report linked the rising crime in part to economic conditions in Japan, where unemployment is at near record levels.

Economic crimes such as theft, embezzlement and fraud constituted 79.7% of the crimes in 2001, up from 68.6% a year earlier.

Arrest rate

Takeshi Koyanagi, deputy director of the justice ministry's research and training institute, said an increase in hard-to-solve crimes, such as theft and property damage, led to the decrease in the arrest rate.

In the last few years Japan has also been shocked by a wave of violent crimes.

In June last year, a man walked into a primary school and randomly stabbed to death eight children.

See also:

03 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
08 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
08 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
23 Mar 99 | Education
06 Feb 98 | In Depth
17 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
03 May 01 | Country profiles
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