Japan Data

Reported Crime in Japan Rises to Near Pre-Pandemic Level in 2023


The number of reported crimes in Japan rose for the second successive year in 2023, approaching the level in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of reported crimes in Japan had fallen for two decades following a peak in 2002 with 2.85 million. Since 2022 though, it has been on the rise again. The number in 2023 did show a slight drop of 6.0% compared with 2019, the year prior to the pandemic. However, the number of “street crimes” (including street robberies, purse snatchings, bicycle thefts, physical assaults, and extortion) was 21.0% higher than the previous year. The National Police Agency believes this is due to more active flow of people since the downgrading of COVID-19’s disease category.

Number of Reported Crimes

A total of 12,372 major crimes were reported in 2023, a 29.8% increase 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 increased slightly to 912 and 1,361, respectively. Meanwhile, cases of rape and indecent assault both rose by more than 1,000, with 2,711 and 6,096 cases, respectively. Japan’s Penal Code was reviewed in July 2023, with the criteria for rape revised to create a broader category of nonconsensual sexual intercourse. The National Police Agency suggested that this has led to the creation of an easier environment to report and seek advice on sexual crimes, leading to an increase in reported cases.

Number of Reported Major Crimes in Japan

In the area of cyber-crimes, cases of internet banking remittance fraud totaled 5,528, a 386.6% year-on-year increase, and accounted for ¥8.6 billion, a 465.7% increase. This sudden sharp rise makes both figures the highest on record. The majority of victims were individuals, with 60% of them aged in their forties through sixties.

Police notified child guidance offices of suspected child abuse cases involving 122,806 children under the age of 18, a 6.1% increase over the previous year, and the number of arrests for child abuse cases rose by 9.4% to 2,385. Both numbers were record highs.

A survey conducted by the National Police Agency in October 2023 showed that 64.7% of people thought Japan was a safe country. This was a drop of 11.2 points from the time of the 2021 survey.

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(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Investigators work at a crime scene connected with a stabbing on the JR Yamanote Line in Tokyo in the early morning of January 4, 2024. © Jiji.)

crime National Police Agency