Japan remains one of the safest countries in the first world with some of the globe’s lowest rate of violent crimes. That being said, Japan is not immune to crime and thus it’s important for everyone in the community to be vigilant.
While street and white collar crime appears to be slowly increasing, it is believed that the relatively infrequent acts of crime are due in large part to legal deterrents. Japanese prosecutors reportedly boast a conviction rate greater than 80%, and the judicial penalties for many crimes in Japan are more severe than in some Western nations. Japan also has strict gun laws that forbid the public from owning handguns and hunting rifles must be registered with the authorities. Ownership of knives are a separate matter however, and a spate of crimes involving knives over the past several years has prompted the National Police Agency to rethink the laws surrounding their ownership.
Tokyo’s notoriously over-crowded trains do create opportunities for “chikan” (groping) to occur – something the Japanese authorities continue to combat. In response to the problem, a number of railway companies have designated “women-only” cars during peak travel times in an effort to reduce the incidence of chikan.