photo of person holding a handgun
Photo by cottonbro on


Watching the news on TV and the Internet, it seems that violent crimes are very common in Japan. The number of crimes seems to be increasing, and it seems that public safety will become even worse in the future. There are so many unforgivable crimes that I wonder if we are safe.

では、実際はどうなのか、ということで「犯罪白書」を読む。001361628.pdf ( みていただくと分かる通り、2021年の犯罪白書は440ページにもわたる力作で、なかなか全ては読み切れませんが、簡単に傾向だけ紹介します。

So, to find out what is really going on, I read the White Paper on Crime. As you can see, the 2021 White Paper on Crime is a 440-page document, and it’s hard to read all of it, but I’ll just briefly introduce some of the trends.


Approximately 614,000 criminal offenses occurred in 2020. Theft accounted for 417,000 of these, so excluding theft, there were 196,000 criminal offenses committed. This number alone does not give a clear picture, but it is on a downward trend every year. The number of criminal offenses increased from 1996 to 2002, reaching 2.85 million in 2002, and began to decrease in 2003. I am not sure if I realized that crime is decreasing rapidly.


The most serious of crimes is murder, and the number of homicides recognized in 2020 was 929, a slight decrease of 21 from 2019, and 913 arrests, or 98.3% I think this is quite impressive. There were about 1500 homicides in 2003, since then there has been a basic downward trend (the lowest was 895 in 2016).


There are 182,000 people arrested for criminal offenses. Since 143,000 are men and 39,000 are women, the overwhelming majority of arrests are men. (The number of people committing crimes is most probably also overwhelmingly high.)


In 2017, the number of homicides per 100,000 population was 0.2 in Japan, 1.3 in France, 1.0 in Germany, 1.2 in the UK, and 5.3 in the US. It can be confirmed that Japan has a low number of homicides per population compared to Western countries. I won’t go into details, but I can say that the number of robberies is also very low by an order of magnitude, and that Japan’s security is still good in the world.


It does not mean that there is no problem because it is better than in other countries, and it does not mean that it is good because it is on the decline. I think that the safety is one of the great things about Japan. I hope that it will get even better.