Japan Data

Annual Recorded Crimes in Japan Decline for Fifteenth Consecutive Year


There were 915,000 recorded annual crimes in Japan in 2017, marking the third straight record low. This trend seems to be the outcome of such factors as the spread of products with anti-theft functions and the increase of security cameras.

Major Decrease in Thefts

There were 915,042 recorded crimes in Japan in 2017, according to the National Police Agency. This is an 8.1% drop from 2016, which was the first year that crimes dipped below one million in the postwar era. The number of recorded annual criminal offences peaked in 2002 at 2.85 million and has been in decline over the 15 years since then.

The growing number of products with anti-theft functions and the increase in street security cameras have contributed to the significant decrease in the number of thefts, which account for over 70% of all crimes. At the same time, however, fraudulent activities like the ore ore sagi (it’s me, it’s me scam) and false billings rose by 3.9% in 2017.

The number of arrests in 2017 was 327,081, giving an arrest rate of 35.7% vis-à-vis the overall number of recorded crimes. Although this was a 1.9-point improvement over the previous year, the rate remains low compared to the mid-1980s, when the arrest rate was over 60%. The arrest rate in 2017 for serious crimes such as murder, robbery, and arson was 80.3%, marking the first time since 1998 for the rate to exceed 80%. At the same time, however, the arrest rates for common lesser crimes, such as bicycle theft and property damage, were extremely low, at 6.4% and 10.5%, respectively.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: A bank worker helps protect an elderly woman from telephone fraud. © Komaer/Pixta)

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