The rapid rise in theft by elderly people has caught the police and Justice Ministry off guard. A Justice Ministry report revealed that over 30,000 people over 65 were convicted of theft in 2007, with crimes by the elderly in 2008 rising to the highest level ever.

Most were convicted of shoplifting. Already surmising the problem two years ago, the government budgeted ¥8.3 billion for new prison facilities for the elderly.

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