September 28, 2023

Crime surges in Japan as Covid restriction ease

The number of crimes recorded in Japan in the first six months of 2023 increased by more than 20 percent compared to the same period in 2022, amid the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, according to police data, Kyodo News Agency reported.

According to the National Police Agency, 333,003 cases were reported in the first half of the year, up by 21.1 percent from the previous year, rising for the first time in 21 years between January and June.

The crime rate has surged partly because of an increase in street crime and break-ins following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. According to the agency, street crimes which also included bicycle theft surged up by 29.7 percent as compared to the same period in the previous year, to 110,744 cases. Break-ins increased to 27,741 cases, up by 28 percent, reported Kyodo News Agency.

These numbers include burglaries linked to “yami baito,” or “dark part-time work.”

According to Japan Times, yami baito are part-time jobs that recruit people through social networking sites that many young people use, such as Twitter and Facebook. The job posts use words such as “high-income” and “earn money in a short period of time” to attract people. The phrase yami baito gained traction when Japanese men were arrested for running scams from the Philippines. Moreover, they were suspected of recruiting individuals for this kind of work to carry out a series of robberies across Japan, reported Kyodo News Agency. Police further said that the rise in sensational crimes, as well as those committed in familiar locations, was likely to create a feeling of a decline in public safety. A spokesperson from the agency said, “It will be a turning point (in regards to safety) if the number of reported crimes continues to increase as people start to return to normalcy.” The cases of robberies increased by 23.8 percent from the previous year to 228,889 cases, accounting for three-quarters of the overall increase. Additionally, heinous crimes, including murder, jumped 16.5 percent to 5,137 cases, Kyodo News Agency reported. (ANI)