Kyodo et al. falls for NPA spins once again, headlines NJ “white collar crime” rise despite NJ crime fall overall


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Hi Blog.  It’s that time of year again.  Time for the National Police Agency (NPA) Spring Offensive and Media Blitz against foreign crime.  Article, then comment, then some original Japanese articles, to observe yet again how NJ are being criminalized by Japanese law enforcement and our domestic media:


No. of white-collar crimes by foreigners up by 31.2% in 2009

Thursday 25th February, 2010 Kyodo News, Courtesy of KG

TOKYO — The National Police Agency detected 964 white-collar crimes by visiting foreigners in Japan last year, up 31.2% from the previous year, it said Thursday. The number of visiting foreigners charged with such crimes came to 546, up 7.9%, according to the NPA. It said notable among the crimes was teams using faked credit cards.

The overall number of crimes committed by all foreigners in the reporting year fell 11.1% to 27,790, with 13,282 people, down 4.3%, charged, the NPA said.



COMMENT:   Yep. Same old same old. Parrot the NPA: Highlight the NJ crime rises, and play down the fact that NJ crime overall has gone down. And of course no depiction of J “white collar” (whatever that means) crime numbers, nor their ups or downs to give a sense of scale.

NB: I can’t find the Japanese original for the Kyodo English article, only something in Kyodo’s Chinese-language news service (which avails us with the original terminology for “white-collar crime”, as “gaikokujin chinou hanzai” (lit. foreign intellectual crime); again, whatever that means). The structure is the same:

02.25.10 17:36




The Sankei doesn’t defy its typical anti-NJ bent as it also parrots the NPA:

外国人の知能犯罪が増加 前年比31・2%増の964件 564人摘発詐欺グループ目立つ
産經新聞 2010.2.25 10:53

Jiji Press takes a different angle, headlining the drop in NJ crime and assigning possible societal causes, but still resorts to pointing out a rise where possible (in types of crime, such as theft and graft):



And in a related note, the NPA is going “global” in its unified crime-fighting efforts:

警察庁:国際犯罪、対応を一元化 部門横断的に「対策室」
毎日新聞 – ‎Feb 22, 2010‎









Arudou Debito in Sapporo

11 comments on “Kyodo et al. falls for NPA spins once again, headlines NJ “white collar crime” rise despite NJ crime fall overall

  • Deepspacebeans says:

    The most consistent definition of “intellectual crimes” I can find refers to them as being criminal acts performed without acts or the threat of physical violence, such as fraud.

    My primary concern is the following: they differentiate between “detected” foreign intellectual crimes and those foreigners charged with such crimes. How exactly could one reliably determine the nationality of the perpetrator of a suspected criminal without having charged anyone with the crime? I suspect they are also including in this figure the various cases where people claim that the perpetrator “sounded foreign”.

    Also, it would be useful to know whether or not this figure also includes incidences of digital credit card theft and other digital crimes, as these kinds of acts tend to be perpetrated from other certain countries which do not actively prosecute such crime.

    While I am glad that the vast majority of these articles at least mention the overall decline, I still would have to agree that the overall decline of 11% is statistically much more significant than the elements upon which they tend to be focusing.

  • In the New Zealand media the term white collar and blue collar crime have been used for as long as I can remember. White collar being the sort of things managers and such (the guys in suits with white shirts) do like embezzlement and fraud.

    Blue collar (ie people wearing their ‘blue shirts’ under their overalls and such – or at least was my interpretation from a long way back) crime is what the rest of us plebs do – like stabbing your coworker in the boning room.

    From my subjective observations from years of NZ telly, white collar stuff involving lots of money seem to get long sentences in low security prisons, blue collar crimes involving violence or violations of peoples basic rights seem to get short sentences in med-high security prisons… Still can’t figure out why we place such a high value on the dollar.

  • I’m not sure it’s fair to blame the NPA. Their report ( ) starts by saying that the number of crimes has been falling steadily for five years, but that the number of arrests went up last year for the first time in a while. Their big graph on the second page also shows the decline quite clearly. (Deepspacebeans: most criminals commit more than one crime. The difference in numbers could easily be accounted for by that.) I think the spin is the newspapers’.

    To answer Deepspacebeans’ other question, the statistics are for crimes committed by foreigners present in Japan, excluding permanent residents, special permanent residents, spouses of permanent residents, US troops, and “people with unclear status of residence”, which may well be the officialese for “illegal immigrants”. So crimes committed in Japan by people living abroad are not included. (This is on the second page of the report, before the table of contents.)

    — Re the first paragraph. No, the spin is probably not the newspapers’. It is the NPA telling the cub reporters assigned to the police beat what to parrot. Announced at a time of day at a press conference where there’s not much time for analysis in order to make deadline. Happens every year with regularity and the same spin, as the police are pros at using the media to their own ends. Source: my conversations with those very cub reporters.

  • Follow up comment, sorry. I’ve dug a bit further into the data, and they do include illegal immigrants. The excluded group must be cases where they can’t work out whether they’re legal or not. Probably a small group.

  • Subdivide into demographics enough and you’ll find a rise somewhere… there might be a 50% drop in overall foreign crime, but the 2% rise in foreign parking violations will find its way to the top of the article.

  • I’m pretty sure that software and DVD piracy fall under the “chinou hanzai” category, probably making up a large percentage. There was even a page or 2 on the topic in the infamous Gaijin Hanzai File mook.
    “Detected” crimes by foreigners would likely be cyber crime, such as rampant piracy via China (which I assume must have some component in Japan copying all those original DVDs)

    Another possibility would be that maybe the J cops started cracking down on streetcorner DVD and software pirates (I see far fewer in Osaka these days), giving verbal warnings to Japanese and arresting the gaijin. But that’s just a theory.

    I’ll look into the stats more.

    As always, I will assume all police stats have a built-in unquantifiable bias (amongst other biases) against foreigners regarding arrest numbers, since gaijin are targets for special attention from the police.
    Japanese natives are not regularly stopped and questioned by J cops (unless they’re otaku), and there probably aren’t many anti-Japanese racist cops and judges.

    But yeah, the xenophobic-justice-media system is so damned predictable. Any collection of multiple categories of data will almost ALWAYS show some increases and some decreases. Of course the overall decrease or individual decreases, don’t get the headline. For shame Kyodo.

  • Looks like this press release is part of this year’s ongoing string of reports on various subsections (gaijin crime, drug crime, etc) of what will probably be the ultimate release of the entire annual crime stat report. The complete crime stat report for the first half of Heisei 21 has been available since September, so I think the full Heisei 21 will be done next month, then we can compare gaijin crime -oops, I shouldn’t say that, gaijin ARREST rates (that’s what the stats really are, arrest rates, not actual crime rates, but since there’s the 98-99% conviction rate, no wonder the J police and media basically equate arrested suspect with guilty criminal) to the population as a whole.

    As usual the percentage fluctuations in the subsections of gaijin arrests can fluctuate wildly from year to year compared to national rates, because the actual numbers are so small. Example, the major violent crime arrest rate in the first half of H21 was 13.6% higher than the first half of H20. But that’s because there were only 88 cases in H20, and 100 in H21. So, in theory, a single jerk commmitting 2 armed robberies a month for those 6 months would singlehandedly cause a 13.6% jump in the gaijin major violent crime rate for the ENTIRE COUNTRY.

    Here’s a silly one, arrests for theft from vending machines are up 300% for gaijin.
    In that it was 1 ONE in H20(1/2)and it leaped all the way to 4 in H21(1/2). 4 gaijin in all of Japan arrested for stealing from vending machines. Gaijin vandals! 😉

    J cop stats pages (in Japanese)

    Have fun, but watch out for Turkish people, there was a 491% rise in arrests of Turks. They must be very dangerous. 😉

  • Good work, Level3 — it’s pretty telling when you actually look into the stats and see where the numbers are coming from. Gaijin vandals indeed!

  • Level3 I believe that the 98/99% conviction rate is for those individuals who are indicted. Suspects are arrested and held for 21 days while the police “investigate” and then the police decide whether to indict or not based on the evidence uncovered during such “investigation”. If insufficient evidence is turned up, then the police will usually not proceed with the indictment. This is basically what happened in the Savoie case. He was arrested, but the police decided not to indict. He would not be included in the conviction rate statistics, since the case never went to trial.

    — It’s 23 days. 3 plus 10 plus 10.

  • @GiantPanda

    That is a possible source of one of the other built-in biases in the data.
    My legalistic Japanese is not up to scratch, but I get the impression the J police data only reports arrests, as that’s their field, and prosecutions and convictions are probably in some other stat report I’ve never been able to find. They also report “clearances” vs. arrests, but I couldn’t figure out what “clearance” means as used in their English summaries. Sending to the prosecutor? Release? Both?
    I’d love to see a report on prosecutions if it exists. Anyone got a lead?

    The key data for us to look at would be the percentage of arrests that then A) Go to trial and B)Yield a guilty verdict.

    Would there be any difference between these rates for gaijin vs. Japanese?
    Though it would be hard to interpret.
    In hypothetical scenario A: 90% of arrested Japanese are prosecuted, while 80% of gaijin are.
    Some would argue this represents leniency to gaijin.
    Others (me) would argue this represents police overenthusism to arrest gaijin without sufficient evidence or cause, then grudgingly have to release them. Innocent NJ would be twice as likely as Japanese to be unjustly held for 23 days.

    In hypothetical scenario B: 90% of Japanese are prosecuted, while 95% of gaijin are.
    Some would argue this represents prosecution bias against gaijin.
    Others could come up with a counterclaim.

    Hypothetical scenario C would have equal prosecution rates for J and NJ.
    But even that could mean no bias at all, or a “cancelling out” of a zeal to arrest NJ despite insufficient cause combined a prosecution bias against NJ.

    Similar arguments again for conviciton biases, but the margins are pretty thin when we’re in the 98% range and there are so few NJ cases.

    It would also be nice to see comparisons of length of arrest periods, too. Are NJ more likely to be held for more of those 23 days?

    A case-by-case analysis would likely be necessary to figure out what, if anythingis going on,.


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