3,400 Vietnamese Charged with Crimes in Japan in 2022

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The National Police Agency

Vietnamese nationals accounted for the largest share of the 9,548 foreigners charged with criminal offenses by police last year, at 3,432, the National Police Agency has reported. The majority of cases with Vietnamese suspects involved shoplifting.

In many cases, they had paid large sums of money to brokers in their home country to come to Japan and then became involved in crimes due to financial difficulties. The NPA is consulting with Vietnamese security authorities to find measures against exploitative brokers.

The NPA said the number of offences by foreigners in Japan last year was 14,662, down by 1,231 from the previous year. The number of people charged decreased by 1,129. By nationality, Vietnamese accounted for the largest number at 3,432, followed by Chinese at 2,006.

Nine years ago, in 2013, the number of foreigners charged in Japan was 9,884, including 1,118 Vietnamese. While the overall number decreased, the number of Vietnamese tripled.

Behind this is the increase in the number of people coming to Japan under Japan’s technical intern program.

At the end of 2013, the number of Vietnamese residents in Japan was 72,256. By the end of 2021, the number had increased to 432,934, with the number of those residing in Japan under the intern program rising to about 180,000 as of the end of June last year.

Some of the trainees are said to have borrowed money in Vietnam to pay brokers. There are a notable number of Vietnamese who, short of money after arriving in Japan, end up repeatedly stealing merchandise for resale under the direction of criminal groups. Shoplifting accounted for 53.8% of all criminal offenses in which Vietnamese were charged last year.