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Five trends in crime and punishment in Japan that have made headlines recently:

  • The amount of liquid marijuana seized in Japan has seen “an explosive increase,” putting police and customs authorities on high alert. The estimated amount of marijuana in liquid form confiscated by Tokyo Customs in 2020 jumped nearly 70 times from the previous year’s level.
  • Traffic accident fatalities fell to 2,839 in 2020, marking the lowest level since comparable data became available in 1948. Fatalities dropped by 376, or 11.7%, setting a record low for the fourth straight year and below 3,000 for the first time. Tokyo had the most fatalities for the first time in 53 years.
Police officers call on people to drive safely during a campaign conducted in Takaishi, Osaka Prefecture, in September. | KYODO
Police officers call on people to drive safely during a campaign conducted in Takaishi, Osaka Prefecture, in September. | KYODO
  • The number of teachers at public schools in Japan who were disciplined for sexual misconduct in fiscal 2019 stood at 273, the second-highest figure on record. The figure, only nine less than the record high set in the education ministry’s study for fiscal 2018, includes 126 cases involving their students or former students who were still under 18 years old.
  • Mothers of children who die of abuse are often isolated from local communities and relatives, with the rate of such deaths higher when women are subjected to domestic violence, a government panel has found. In the wake of recent cases of fatal child abuse, the welfare ministry panel examined all such cases from 2007 to March 2018, searching for links between child and spousal abuse.
  • Japan is seeing an increase in social media posts pretending to be cash giveaway offers from celebs, with some people cheated out of electronic money through such scams. Twitter verification badges and accounts with several hundred thousand followers that can be bought online are aiding the scammers.

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