Reported Crime in Japan Increases for First Time in 20 YearsSociety
A provisional National Police Agency summary of 2022 crime statistics in Japan found that the number of reported crimes increased by 5.9% year on year to 601,389; this was the first year-on-year rise for two decades.
The number of reported crimes in Japan has fallen considerably over the past 20 years after reaching a peak in 2002 of 2.85 million cases. However, in 2022, the number of “street crimes” (including street robberies, purse snatchings, bicycle thefts, physical assaults, and extortion) was 14.4% higher than the previous year, while the number of crimes involving break-ins (burglaries, breaking-and-entering cases, and home invasions) decreased year on year by 1.9%. These trends are thought to reflect the impact from the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
In 2022, a total of 9,536 major crimes were reported, an increase of 715 cases or 8.1% over the previous year. These crimes included cases of murder, robbery, arson, rape, and indecent assault, and kidnapping and trafficking. Cases of murder and robbery remained almost unchanged at 853 and 1,148, respectively. Meanwhile, cases of rape and indecent assault rose year on year for the second consecutive year, with 1,656 and 4,708 cases, respectively.
Cases of special fraud rose by 20.8% in 2022, to 17,520, marking the second consecutive annual increase. Financial losses from such crimes increased 28.2% to ¥36.1 billion, which was the first increase in eight years. The most common types of special fraud are refund scams, followed by cases of ore ore sagi (literally “it’s me, it’s me scam”) and false billing fraud.
In the area of cyber-crimes, cases of ransomware, which involve malicious programs that encrypt data on computers to demand money in exchange for deactivation, rose to a record high of 230 cases, for a 57.5% year-on-year increase. Cases of Internet banking remittance fraud totaled 1,131, increasing for the first time in three years and accounting for ¥1.53 billion in losses.
The police notified child guidance offices of suspected abuse cases involving 115,730 children under the age of 18 in 2022, a 7.1% increase over the previous year. In addition, the number of consultations regarding cases of domestic violence rose to 84,493, a 1.7% year-on-year increase. Both numbers were record highs.
In July 2022, former Prime Minister Abe Shinzō was shot and killed while delivering a street speech. This case may have influenced the responses to a survey conducted by the National Police Agency in October; the percentage of those describing Japan as a “safe country” decreased year on year by 7.3 points to 68.6% in total.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Police officers (right) inspect the wall of a multistory parking garage where a bullet was lodged, near the site where Prime Minister Abe Shinzō was assassinated. Photograph taken on July 13, 2022, in Nara, Nara Prefecture. © Jiji.)