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Crime in Japan dips to lowest postwar level through first half of 2018

Kyodo

The number of recorded crimes in Japan continued to decrease through the first half of 2018 to a level unseen in the postwar period, mainly due to falling theft rates, preliminary police data showed Thursday.

The total number of crimes recorded over the period stood at 398,615, down 52,054 from the same period a year earlier, according to the National Police Agency.

Thefts accounted for more than 70 percent of all registered crimes but the number of cases continued to decline. The proliferation of security cameras was seen as a cause in the falling number of thefts.

However, the number of reported sex crimes rose in the first six months. The increase comes after the penal code was revised last July to eliminate a requirement that a victim must file a complaint before rape or sexual molestation can be prosecuted.

The revision also broadened the definition of rape to include male victims.

The data showed that police had to deal with many crimes targeting children and cases of fraud involving increasingly sophisticated methods.

In May, a 7-year-old girl in the city of Niigata was abducted on her way home from school before being killed and abandoned on a railway track.

The murder has led to nationwide checks of routes taken by elementary school students.

In the half-year period, police took enforcement actions in 152,799 cases against 100,579 people, down 8,379 and 5,115, respectively, from a year earlier. The number of people included 11,689 juveniles.

Excluding serial thefts and other crimes perpetrated by the same culprit, police took enforcement actions in 99,763 cases, of which 17,289 resulted from voluntary police questioning and 8,746 from footage recorded by security cameras and other devices.

The number of reported crimes hit a postwar low in 2017.