Daizo Nozawa says Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has ordered him in his new job as justice minister to make Japan the "safest country in the world" again.

"My primary task should be to return society to a condition in which women and children can walk alone on the streets at nights," the 70-year-old Upper House member said in reference to the soaring crime rate, which has jumped 58 percent in the past decade.

What the Justice Ministry can do toward that goal, Nozawa said, is ensure prompt public access to the justice system, tighten immigration controls and reform the correctional system.