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Here’s what Debito.org has been saying all along (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here): The policing agencies are justifying any programs dealing with crime by blaming it on the foreigners.
As a source, here’s the Ministry of Justice itself in unrepentant Bunker Mentality Mode. It’s hard not to read this as, “We were a safe society until the foreigners came along and spoiled everything for us. So now we have to crack down on the foreigners and Japanese who deal with them.” Great. Of course, we have no purely homegrown crime here, such as the Yaks, right? Why is “Recovery of Public Safety” so firmly linked in “foreigner issues”? Because they’re a soft target, that’s why. Read on and try to suppress a wry smirk. Arudou Debito
THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
Recovery of public safety
Undated article, courtesy of XY, English original
In the past Japan was proud of its image in the world of being an exceptionally safe country, but in recent years, the number of criminal cases that have been identified by the authorities has increased remarkably, while the clearance rate has dropped drastically and remains at a very low level, which makes the deterioration of public safety an issue of grave concern to the nation. In particular, exceptionally violent crimes attracting public attention and the occurrence close at hand of many offences committed by youngsters or by foreign nationals coming to Japan are making people uneasy about the maintenance of public order. In addition, since computers and high-level information technology such as the Internet have become a common feature of daily life, new crimes abusing such advanced technology have risen in number. Further, effective measures against international terrorism such as the multiple terrorist attacks on the United States, and efforts toward solving problems concerning the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea, are needed.
Under such circumstances, the Government, aiming at restoration of Japan as “the safest country in the world”, inaugurated the Ministerial Meeting Concerning Measures against Crime, which formulated in December 2003 “The Action Plan for the Realization of a Society Resistant to Crime”, and the Conference is actively promoting comprehensive measures such as various countermeasures against crime including shoreline countermeasures, the consolidation of a social environment under which it is difficult to commit crimes, and the strengthening of the structure of agencies and organs responsible for public safety.
Based on the important issues shown in this plan (Action Plan for the Realization of a Society Resistant to Crime), the Ministry of Justice submitted the Bill for Partial Amendment to the Penal Code and other related laws to the Diet, which raised the terms of statutory penalties for heinous and serious crimes and extended the statute of limitations for prosecution, and this Law has been in force since the beginning of 2005. Further, the Ministry of Justice, in order to better protect the economy and society from organized crime and suchlike, is engaged in getting legislation passed, including criminal provisions, to combat the obstruction of compulsory execution, which is also necessary for ratification of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; as well as legislation for measures against high-tech crimes, thereby enabling ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.
In order to deal effectively with the frequent occurrence of serious crimes committed by foreign nationals and the increase in the number of transnational crimes, it is necessary to make the procedure for gathering evidence from abroad more effective and to enhance cooperation between the investigative authorities of foreign countries and Japan. As part of such enhancement of cooperation, the Japanese Government has concluded the Treaty between Japan and the United States of America on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (entered into force on 21 July 2006) and the Treaty between Japan and Korea on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (entered into force on 26 January 2007). These treaties have made it possible to send and receive requests not through diplomatic channel but directly between the Ministry of Justice or other competent authorities of Japan and the Ministry of Justice of respective countries, enabling the expediting of procedures. The Japanese Government is also negotiating with Hong Kong, Russia and China to conclude the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. The Ministry of Justice is in the position of developing cooperation with other countries in the future.
The Bill for Partial Amendment to the Penal Code and Other Related Laws has been submitted to the 2005 Ordinary Session of the Diet, which is necessary to ratify the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and to cope with the modern crime of violation of the right to liberty, for example, confinement for long periods and the heinous kidnapping of minors, and this Law has been in force since July 2005.
In order to stabilize the public security of the nation, preventing the re-offending of offenders who have committed crimes or delinquency is also important.
Penal institutions including prisons, juvenile prisons and detention houses, are now suffering from a severe overcrowding of inmates and it is thought that this may adversely affect the treatment given by the institutions. Therefore the Ministry is striving to solve the problem by such means as the construction of prisons using private financial initiatives (PFI). Furthermore, in order to find a way to enable the large numbers of Chinese inmates, who are one of the causes of overcrowding, to be transferred to their home country, the Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is working toward early conclusion of a bilateral treaty between Japan and China and continues dialogues with China.
In addition, the Ministry is striving to prevent inmates from re-offending by improving the treatment programs for the rehabilitation and smooth resocialization of inmates.
In the field of rehabilitation of offenders in the community, the Ministry of Justice is aiming to smoothly enforce the Offenders Rehabilitation Act, which was passed by the Diet and was promulgated in June 2007 and to ensure fair application of the Act in order to improve and strengthen the offenders rehabilitation system in the community.
The Offenders Rehabilitation Act shall be enforced on a date which is specified by a Cabinet Order within a period not exceeding one year from the day of promulgation (June 15, 2007). However, some articles of the Act which relate to support of crime victims were already enforced on December 1, 2007. In order to carry out balanced probation, parole, and improvement of the system of cooperation between rehabilitation workers in the private sector such as volunteer probation officers, and public officers, the Ministry of Justice is striving to strictly enforce the lower laws and ordinances which lay down the detailed regulations of the bill of the Offenders Rehabilitation Act. In addition, the Rehabilitation Bureau is endeavoring to establish strong rehabilitation of offenders in the community in a way which will fulfill the expectations of the citizens in the future.
To ensure balanced and effective probation, the Ministry of Justice implements the following from the viewpoint of the appropriate roles for probation officers and volunteer probation officers: guidance and assistance by probation officers who give direct and intensive supervision to persons who need special consideration for treatment, reinforcement of direct participation by probation officers for persons who need focused treatment, implementation of special treatment programs for sex offenders, violent offenders and drug abusers. In addition, assisting in securing employment is extremely important to prevent re-offending. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice promotes finding employment together with public employment security offices to support probationers and parolees in finding work, promotes measures for work security in a variety of industries and fields through cooperation with the ministries concerned, and promotes the National Halfway House Project.
Concerning antiterrorism measures, the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (hereinafter to be referred to as the Immigration Control Act), was revised in the regular session of the Diet in 2005 in order to include new counter-terrorism measures, based on the Action Plan for the Prevention of Terrorism (decided on December 10, 2004 by the Headquarters for the Promotion of Countermeasures against International Terrorism including International Organized Crime) and the amended Act entered into effect in December of 2005.
Further, according to the plan, the ordinary Diet Session in 2006 amended the Immigration Control Act. The revision included the introduction of (i) regulations requiring foreign nationals to provide fingerprints and other personal identification at the landing examination, (ii) regulations regarding the grounds for deportation of foreign terrorists, and (iii) regulations requiring the captains of ships and other vessels entering Japan to report in advance information regarding crewmembers and passengers.
With regard to North Korea, the Public Security Intelligence Agency is collecting and analyzing information such as abduction, nuclear and missile issues, in order to contribute to providing solutions. Further, the Agency is endeavoring to consolidate its intelligence collection mechanism by intensifying and expanding its intelligence network and its cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies in order to prevent the occurrence of terrorist attacks by international terrorist organizations, and to clarify the actual state of such organizations as well as to detect international terrorism related activities in Japan, while making efforts to actively promote the Government’s “Action Plan for the Prevention of Terrorism” with other agencies and organizations concerned. With regard to Aum Shinrikyo (the Aum cult), taking into consideration that there is no fundamental change in its dangerous nature even after the cult split into the main stream group and the Joyu group in May 2007, the Agency is strictly implementing the measure to place the groups under surveillance thereby clarifying the organizations themselves and their activities and providing local governments at their request with the results of the surveillance, thus trying to secure the safety of the public and ease the fears and the anxiety of the Japanese people.
(Criminal Affairs Bureau, Correction Bureau, Rehabilitation Bureau, Immigration Bureau, Public Security Intelligence Agency, and Public Security Examination Commission)
20 comments on “Ministry of Justice website justifying crime prevention measures due to “frequent occurrence of serious crimes committed by foreign nationals and increase in transnational crimes””
I thought that the most serious ongoing crime was the abduction of children by Japanese nationals. Why don’t they address that?
Anyway, PFI is a bust; it’s bankrupted the UK, and now it’s going to bankrupt Japan. But that’s what happens when you put dogma ahead of reality.
It starts off recognising that crime is not just a foreigners issue – “many offences committed by youngsters or by foreign nationals”.
Then starts to go off the rails – “In order to deal effectively with the frequent occurrence of serious crimes committed by foreign nationals”. (What about the Japanese youngsters again?)
And then goes back full circle to the same old same old – “to secure the safety of the public and ease the fears and the anxiety of the Japanese people”.
I love the editorial inconsistency. Paragraph 1 identifies the problem as being ‘youngsters and foreign nationals’, whereas by the time the author has worked himself up into a frenzy and gets to Paragraph 4, the problem is simply ‘serious crimes by foreign nationals’. Japan’s stunted youth gets let off the hook somewhere in between, it seems.
Do they post any statistics to back their claims up? One statistic that appears to be missing is the number of terrorist attacks carried out in Japan by foreign nationals, as opposed to those carried out by Japanese nationals, such as the Sarin Gas Attacks.
Off to Narita today. Should be interesting.
I can’t fault you for not reading to the end of the article:
“With regard to Aum Shinrikyo (the Aum cult), taking into consideration that there is no fundamental change in its dangerous nature even after the cult split into the main stream group and the Joyu group in May 2007, the Agency is strictly implementing the measure to place the groups under surveillance thereby clarifying the organizations themselves and their activities and providing local governments at their request with the results of the surveillance, thus trying to secure the safety of the public and ease the fears and the anxiety of the Japanese people.”
“to secure the safety of the public and ease the fears and the anxiety of the Japanese people”
Har har har!! Methinks the Japanese people (as well as a lot of foreigners) are now more afraid of prosecutors tampering with evidence to secure their 100% conviction rate than of anything else…
And where are media reports about foreign terrorists dispersing Sarin gas in the subway system? Where are media reports about foreigners running amok in Akihabara, or foreigners invading grammar schools and killing children? Noticed any American Bosozoku gang roaming the streets of Tokyo recently? Or Italians embezzling money from Japanese public coffers??
And some crimes can only be committed by foreigners – entering with a fake passport, overstaying etc.
Aaa, the good old “safest country in the world”.
Whenever I hear that, coupled with crime rates that sounds so immaculate, I can’t help but to think about four of my friends who were raped here.
While I tried to make them report to the police they all declined citing how the cops would do nothing. One of them, however, I eventually manage to persuade into going. I thought it was the right thing to do.
Afterward she told me about the experience. The police did, in fact, do nothing. Not writing it down in a report; not even taking notes.
Or as Seiichi Ohta might have put it: an applaud to Japanese mens virility.
This was years ago, and it was the event that made me give up any remaining faith in the Japanese legal system. But I suppose it did make me think about the statistics often so cited, even mentioned in schoolbooks internationally (I remember mine: it said Japanese were so honorable they would always report themselves), and made me think that perhaps the advertised low numbered crimes and high conviction rates are just like many other parts of Japanese ‘culture’ (or say the mm thick wood panels on their floors); just for show.
As for the ministry and this latest buffoonery I doubt there is relatively much we could do since no official foreign channels (western at least) hardly ever seem to protest. And why should they – the comfort of the relatively low number of foreign workers here are hardly (and sadly) worth upsetting international relationships for. A decent rebuttal to these constant accusations and fear mongering will probably never see the light on TV.
As the previous entries on your site shows: foreigners committing less crimes and generally being nice isn’t going to stop the blame game. Nor the fun practice of comparing a 1 day visa-overstay to a Japanese murder in the statistics.
The only thing I can think of is that instead of going the soft way of trying to mention foreigners criminal inactivity to minds already made up, I were thinking a more local way of shifting to shaming the crimes by locals. Here and abroad. Fight culture with fir…I mean culture.
“With regard to North Korea, the Public Security Intelligence Agency is collecting and analyzing information such as abduction,”
and at Kimpatsu, indeed the REAL “Rachi mondai” is the ongoing one, of children being abducted to Japan by Japanese spouses.
I sometimes get accused of sloganeering (^-^) but I think its worth reclaiming and redefining the slogans the GOJ puts out, and spreading the word against stereotypical thinking and propaganda.
Someday I hope the government will also start to worry about protecting NJ from crime.
I remember that the Japanese Police’s own statistics show that person for person Non-Japanese in Japan commit LESS crime than Japanese in Japan.
I forget the numbers, but the ratio was something like:
1 out of every 100,000 Non-Japanese are convicted of a crime in Japan each year.
3 out of every 100,000 Japanese are convicted of a crime in Japan each year.
My memory of details is usually incorrect, so please somebody correct me.
Debito, somebody, does anyone have the link to the Japanese Police’s statistics?
I’m going to print it out and give it to everyone falsely claiming that Non-Japanese commit more crime in Japan.
— Old data but still effective analysis at http://www.debito.org/crimestats.html
This reminds me of a discussion I had with a local police officer here at our onsen town. I mentioned that the bars and bar girls give the town a bad image, making it difficult to attract female Japanese guests as well as foreigners not used to Japan’s ‘sunakku’ culture (?). His response was they were trying their best to round-up the visa overstayers.
After he left, it dawned on me — how did the discussion go from ‘stopping prostitution’ to ‘keeping illegal aliens out’?!?! Don’t the Japanese bar girls dabble in extracurricular activities, too? (Unfortunately, I can’t exactly ask around about this, as my motives might be miscontrued…)
That’s thing about bigots mostly, they aren’t smart enough to hide their bigotry, even when they are trying to mask it. Deep down they know they’re right and just let slip.
I just shake my head. Really, at the station I walk past the Japans most wanted posters are full of, well, s$&@, Japanese crooks! Foreign crime epidemic my….
It seems to me that in an attempt to make Japan look really safe, the prosecutors and others are really pushing to keep conviction rates as high as they are now and not shying away from tampering with evidence, as Getchan has already pointed out.
“Where are media reports about foreigners running amok in Akihabara, or foreigners invading grammar schools and killing children? Noticed any American Bosozoku gang roaming the streets of Tokyo recently? Or Italians embezzling money from Japanese public coffers??”
Very well said. Downplaying these as ‘isolated incidents’ while at the same time hyping up ‘foreigner crimes’ really doesn’t help Japan’s image abroad (which is already tarnished by other incidents involving foreign nationals as victims).
I see Japanese commiting crimes all the time. I watched a perv direct his video camera under high school girls skirts on the train while squating near the exit doors. I see theft sometimes as well. Bosozoku commit crimes every night. Foriegners in roppongi do credit card fraud, this I have been a victim of, but Japanese are no less guilty. If all us exited Japan tommorow, there would surely be many happy Japanese, but soon they would be whinning and complaing about each other. We are the scapegoats until somebody else comes along.
Thanks for that old link Debito.
So it turns out that:
285 out of 100,000 Japanese nationals were convicted in 2005.
390 out of 100,000 Non-Japanese nationals were convicted in 2005.
And that’s even with the overstay-violations being subtracted out.
D’oh! That’s not what I was hoping to find.
Isn’t there some more recent data,
released by the police themselves,
that was posted in some thread here,
I’m pretty sure it was during the past year,
that shows Japanese Citizens are now being convicted
of much MORE crime per 100,000 relative to Non-Japanese? 🙂
— Yes there is, of course, up at the NPA site. Somebody with more time than me today please track it down? Thanks.
Something that always seems to get lost in this “safety country” mythology drivel is that it is a safe country for MEN.
I’m a six foot tall 215 pound Caucasian male. My Japanese girlfriend in 5″5 and weighs half what I do. Guess who feels safe walking home from her home train station late at night? A hint. She won’t. She doesn’t even feel safe IN the station at night due to a recent spate of molestations and stabbings of women in the area at night. Just cos noone will f$&@ with YOU, doesn’t mean it’s safe. Not that most Japanese men care, happy and oblivious in their myth of a safe (mans) world.
I once asked the BBC reporter stationed in Tokyo outright why he never reports on Japanese racism, etc., and he told me that he does, but the editor in London spikes the stories because the editor thinks a Western (and primarily British) audience isn’t interested. If Ishihara says “foreigners stink” they reckon it’s just par for the course (notice the shades of racism from the BBC: “You can’t expect the Japanese to live up to our standards”, or the multiculturalism gone mad: “If it’s said in the context of their culture, it’s not racist”), whereas if Michael Bloomberg said it…
AJ, your right. My wife before on the way home at night had somebody tap her on the shoulder. She turned around and there was a naked J guy standing there. She screamed and hauled back to the house. The J police did a search, but the naked guy had already hauled to his car and took off. Your right, Japan is not safe for women at night. Ever see all the Chikan Danger signs up now? Those guys are stalking out the isolated paths and flashing their stuff.
Eyeinthesky – looking at your posts today, it seems you are involved in a lot of hauling. Maybe you should go into the hauling business?
Today’s JT has an interesting article about the annual GOJ’s annual report on crime.
Don’t be mislead by the title – while the title is basically old news, the interesting numbers are hidden in the last couple of paragraphs… 😉
Since I made such a big deal about showing the crime statistics, no matter how embarrassing, I should correct some mistakes I made above, here is what I should have written:
2003 Simple Summary:
266 out of 100,000 “Japanese-National Residents” convicted in 2003*
372 out of 100,000 “Non-Japanese-National Residents” convicted in 2003*
And that’s with the overstay-violations being subtracted out.
2003 Simple Statistics:
* = NPA says 165,976 “Japanese-National Residents” convicted in first half of 2003.
* = NPA says 4,016 “Non-Japanese-National Residents” convicted in first half of 2003.
(overstay-violations excluded since not comparable to both groups)
2003 Simple Calculation:
assuming the conviction numbers for those 6 months can be doubled
assuming there were 127 million total Residents in Japan in 2003
assuming 98.3% of the total were “Japanese-National Residents”
assuming 1.7% of the total were “Non-Japanese-National Residents”
this means there were 124,841,000 “Japanese-National Residents”
this means there were 2,159,000 “Non-Japanese-National Residents”
thus 0.266% of “Japanese-National Residents” were convicted in 2003
thus 0.372% of “Non-Japanese-National Residents” were convicted in 2003
Now, can someone please visit the NPA site for the 2010 January to June crime statistics (I simply don’t want my IP address logged there, hopefully someone less paranoid than me will go get us the newest info please.)
If someone can grab the 2010 Simple Statistics, we will be able to plug them in to the Simple Calculation outlined above, so that we will finally be able to calculate the 2010 Simple Summary:
X out of 100,000 “Japanese-National Residents” convicted in 2010*
Y out of 100,000 “Non-Japanese-National Residents” convicted in 2010*
And that’s with the overstay-violations being subtracted out.
I sure hope it turns out that “Non-Japanese-National Residents” have LESS convictions in 2010, because according to the 2003 Simple Summary (comparing per-capita convictions) “Non-Japanese-National Residents” were convicted MORE than “Japanese-National Residents”, and that seems embarrassing to me.
I want to be able to honestly show folks some newer statistics from the NPA that will prove that nowadays “we” “Non-Japanese-National Residents” are convicted LESS than “Japanese-National Residents”!
PS – I know, I know, some “Japanese-National Residents” folks here (like Debito, and others) are probably already mentally replying, like in that old joke, in the voice of Tonto, “What you mean ‘we’ white man?” 😉