The number of reported Penal Code violations in 1997 hit another postwar record of 2.518 million, up some 52,600 from the year before, according to an annual government report on crime released Tuesday.The 1998 crime white paper, which includes an overview of last year’s general criminal trends and a special report on juvenile delinquency, was approved Tuesday by the Cabinet after being submitted by Justice Minister Shozaburo Nakamura.The number of reported crimes has steadily increased since the mid-1970s, with a combination of thefts and cases of negligence related to traffic accidents accounting for about 90 percent. Statistics show the percentage of these two crimes has remained unchanged for the last 10 years, the ministry report says.Reflecting a series of scandals over illegal payoffs to “sokaiya” corporate extortionists hitting a wide range of companies last year, including the then Big Four brokerages, the number of the Commercial Code and Securities and Exchange Law violations soared.Prosecutors received 133 cases of alleged Commercial Code offenses, twice the figure of the year before. On the Securities and Exchange Law violations, prosecutors received 89 cases, 11 times more than the figure in 1997, the report says.On juvenile crime trends, the number of youths booked for robberies jumped 57.2 percent to 1,701, while police acted against 409 juveniles for rape charges in 1997, marking an 80.2 percent jump from the previous year.

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