Criminal Offenses in Japan Rise in 1st Half

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Metropolitan Police Department on November 1, 2020, in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The number of criminal offenses recognized by police in Japan in January-June rose 21.1% from a year earlier to 333,003, the first increase in 21 years for any first-half period, the National Police Agency said Wednesday.

In the first six months of 2023, the number of serious crimes climbed 16.5% to 5,137, including 2,370 sexual assault cases, 945 rape cases and 683 cases of robbery.

Police took action against 411 individuals under the age of 20 for serious crimes. Of them, 148 were involved in robberies, up 57.4%.

The number of street crimes surged 29.7% to 110,744. Of the 97,724 cases mainly related to mugging, car break-in or bicycle theft, 15,795 occurred in Osaka Prefecture. Tokyo followed, with 13,882 cases, and Saitama Prefecture, with 8,229 cases.

The number of theft cases totaled 228,889, accounting for about 70% of all criminal offense cases.

The overall number of criminal offenses recognized by the police was down 8.4% from the first half of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and down 13.7% for street crimes. The number of serious crimes rose 9.1%.