In a reflection of Japan's graying society, police took action against more elderly people than juveniles in criminal cases for the first time in the six months to June this year, new figures show.
The National Police Agency said Thursday the number of people aged 65 or older subject to police action reached 23,656 between January and June, compared to 19,670 for those aged 14-19.
It marked the first time the elderly exceeded teens in crime statistics since the agency began compiling data by age group in 1989.
Total crimes recorded by police across the country in the first half of the year were down 8.8 percent from the previous year to 539,009, with the figure continuing to decrease since its peak in 2002, the agency said.
If the pace of decline continues in the second half of the year, the number of crimes in 2015 could fall below 1,190,549, the postwar low logged in 1973.
The number of juveniles subject to police action for crimes in the first six months of this year decreased by 3,551, or 15.3 percent, from a year earlier. The fall was largely attributed to declines in those committing theft, down 14.1 percent to 1,964, and violent crimes, down 19.2 percent to 606.
The number of elderly criminals increased 622, or 2.7 percent. Those committing violent crimes rose 280, or 10.8 percent from a year earlier, while the number committing murder and robbery increased by 20, or 11.8 percent.
The data also showed the number of criminal suspects per 1,000 people increased 0.02 percentage points to 0.72 for elderly people and decreased 0.49 points to 2.74 for teens.
The number of crimes solved by police in the first half of 2015 totaled 172,270, with action taken against 116,353 people in those cases. Both numbers have continued to decline since 2006.
The clear-up rate for crimes logged by the police increased 1.8 percentage points from a year earlier to 32 percent, the agency said.