The Pathos of Politics (112-13) Japan


With its absence of brutality, Japan is a notable exception in the world of policing. The Japanese are a uniquely orderly people, with ingrained politeness, and prone to obey authority.

It greatly helps that the Japanese are a relative homogeneous people. The sizable Korean population there do their best to fit in.

Crime in Japan is roughly 10% of that in other rich countries. Muggings are rare; gun violence nearly unheard of.

Japan has a low crime rate partly because of its tolerance for organized crime (yakuza), which largely involves gambling, prostitution, protection rackets, and drugs.

(Illegal drug abuse is treated harshly in Japan, as it historically has been to the lower-class and minorities in the US: the white wealthy typically being able to exempt themselves from the savagery of such laws. Some yakuza syndicates forbid drug dealing by its members, whereas at least 1 syndicate specializes in it.)

Organized crime in Japan sometimes is just organized. Following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, the yakuza quickly sent hundreds of trucks filled with food and needed supplies to help people in affected areas. Such largesse is in keeping with the yakuza code of honor to help those in need.

Shoplifting by the growing population of elderly on stringent pensions is an ongoing issue. But Japan’s biggest crime problem is bicycle theft. Only Holland has a worst predicament with bike snatching.