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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 16:35 GMT
Japan to probe foreigners' crimes
Juan Carlos Pizarro Yagi, file photo
A recent murder by a Peruvian man has reawakened anxiety
The Japanese government should set up a panel to discuss ways to prevent crimes being carried out by foreigners, the justice minister has said.

The announcement follows the admission by a Peruvian man that he murdered a seven-year-old schoolgirl last month.

The incident has tapped into a fear in Japan that crimes committed by foreigners are on the rise.

But some people in Japan recognise that the country needs a bigger foreign workforce as its population ages.

"If there is any problem in the way the government allows foreigners in the country, we should let a working group... study the issue carefully," Justice Minister Seiken Sugiara told a press conference on Friday.

The lawyer for Peruvian Juan Carlos Pizarro Yagi said on Thursday that his client had admitted killing Airi Kinoshita as she walked home from school in Hiroshima prefecture on 22 November.

Her body was found in a cardboard box in a car park.

Discrimination

But Education Minister Kenji Kosaka warned against automatically assuming that foreigners were criminally minded.

"We should not invite the misunderstanding that foreigners in Japan commit crime with great frequency," he told a news conference.

"But unless the living environment of such foreigners... is properly maintained, there will naturally be cases that lead to crime," he said.

The country was also deeply shaken two years ago by the murder of a Japanese family of four by two Chinese students.

Both men were sentenced by a Chinese court earlier this year.


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