Illegal immigrants no longer a major public order threat

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Do you think Japan currently has good public order and is a safe and secure country to live in? graph of japanese statisticsA recent Cabinet Office Japan survey into public order, much to my surprise found that the populace no longer pinned the blame for Japan’s ills on foreigners, even when compared to the same survey three and six years ago.

Demographics

Between the 5th and 15th of July 2012 3,000 randomly-selected Japanese citizens were selected from resident rolls and approached for face-to-face interviews. 1,956 people agreed to take part, but a further demographic breakdown was not provided.

I’m not really sure why the figures for fear of foreigners have changes so dramatically for the better in the last six years, and I’m not sure how I would go about finding out the reason behind it. However, it does also seem clear that the new bogeyman is Reefer Madness, especially as round about the time of the survey there was no end of stories about a current social problem of legal highs, dubious cannabinoid derivatives sold as incence in a multitude of shops in Japan’s big cities.

Research results

Q1: Do you think Japan currently has good public order and is a safe and secure country to live in? (Sample size=1,956)

Think so14.7%
Somewhat think so45.0%
Don’t really think so25.4%
Don’t think so14.0%
Don’t know0.9%

Q2: Within the last 10 years do you think that public safety in Japan has improved or got worse? (Sample size=1,956)

Become better2.5%
Become somewhat better13.3%
Become somewhat worse (to SQ)52.6%
Become worse (to SQ)28.6%
Don’t know3.1

Q2SQ: What do you think are the causes of worsening public order? (Sample size=1,587, mutliple answer)

Sense of local solidarity has weakened54.9%
Economic outlook has worsened47.4%
Various information that people can easily get their hands on has flooded in44.7%
Child and youth education is insufficient43.8%
Citizens’ respect for social norms has weakened42.8%
Punishment for crimes is light29.1%
Crime by foreigners in Japan has increased28.2%
Few uniformed officers in police boxes (koban), on patrol, etc17.6%
Police crackdowns have been insufficient17.3%
Organised crime (yakusa, etc) has increased13.5%
Other2.1%
Don’t know0.7%

Q3: At which locations do you worry that you or those close to you might fall victim to crime? (Sample size=1,956, multiple answer)

Shopping districts53.7%
On the street53.6%
Cyberspace41.9%
Public parks36.6%
Car, bicycle parks27.0%
Railway stations26.8%
In trains, aircraft or other transport25.2%
Lifts23.0%
At home13.0%
Other0.4%
Nowhere in particular6.0%
Don’t know0.7%

Q4: What sorts of crime do you worry that you or those close to you might fall victim to? (Sample size=1,956, multiple answer)

Housebreaking51.1%
Pick-pockets, purse snatchers49.4%
Violent assault45.3%
Drunk-driving traffic accidents, hit-and-runs and other traffic dangers45.1%
Fraudulent sales or money-forwarding schemes43.4%
Internet crime42.3%
Theft of or from motor vehicles39.7%
Abduction of children, etc31.3%
Groping or other sexual assault31.3%
Murder, violent robbers31.2%
Stalking24.8%
Drug sales, drug abuse, drug-fuelled crime21.9%
Bosozoku bike gang dangerous riding, noise pollution, etc18.6%
Loan-sharking16.1%
Other0.4%
None in particular4,3%
Don’t know0.6%

Q5: To what kinds of individuals or organisations do you worry that you or those close to you might fall victim to? (Sample size=1,956, multiple answer)

Emotionally unstable or random slashers, etc61.0%
Habitual criminals; thieves, etc42.6%
Bosozoku or juvenile delinquent gangs34.6%
Yakusa and other organised crime33.3%
Drug dealers or users27.7%
Foreign crime gangs and illegal immigrants25.5%
International terrorist organisations or international terrorists9.9%
Other0.3%
None in particular10.2%
Don’t know2.0%

Q6: What sorts of crimes should the police focus their effort upon? (Sample size=1,956, multiple answer)

Drunk-driving traffic accidents, hit-and-runs and other dangerous driving54.3%
Murders, violent robbery50.1%
Violent assaults47.3%
Abduction of children, etc44.3%
Fraudulent sales or money-forwarding schemes43.2%
Housebreaking42.9%
Drug pushing, drug abuse40.2%
Internet crime35.1%
Pick-pockets, purse snatchers34.5%
Theft of or from motor vehicles31.3%
Groping or other sexual assaults35.7%
Stalking32.2%
Bosozoku bike gangs’ dangerous riding, noise pollution, etc31.7%
Loan-sharking22.9%
Other1.0%
None in particular2.8%
Don’t know0.5%
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3 comments »

  1. Caro said,
    August 30, 2012 @ 14:53

    Seems to me that the questions are different enough that you can’t really conclude that concern about foreigner crime is decreasing. The newer polling question asks people about a RISE in crime (whereas the first just asked about crime that ought to be addressed/investigated). Given that ~30% of people who feel crime is on the rise attribute it (at least in part) to foreign crime – and that works out to about 23% of all poll respondents – it’s still a rather grim statement about attitudes towards foreigners.

  2. Caro said,
    August 30, 2012 @ 14:54

    Seems to me that the questions are different enough that you can’t really conclude that concern about foreigner crime is decreasing. The newer polling question asks people about a RISE in crime (whereas the first just asked about crime that ought to be addressed/investigated). Given that ~30% of people who feel crime is on the rise attribute it (at least in part) to foreign crime – and that works out to about 23% of all poll respondents – it’s still a rather grim statement about attitudes towards foreigners.

  3. bingobangoboy said,
    August 30, 2012 @ 16:07

    Seems like a pretty encouraging set of polls to me.
    First of all, people *always* think that crime is on the rise, even if it’s actually in significant decline (as it is in present-day Japan), which will always inflate figures somewhat.
    Secondly, simply offering the choice and allowing multiple selections is going to produce affirmative answers, especially given the fact that the people answering S2SQ (“What do you think are the causes of worsening public order?”) have already answered that they agree with the premise of the question (crime is rising). Foreigners/immigrants were the second-lowest target of blame in that question, which suggests that far fewer respondents would think to offer that answer unprompted.
    It’s still appropriate to speak out against the tendency to attribute crime to foreigners, but realistically, I doubt you could find more foreigner-friendly answers to this poll in (Western country of your choice).
    Anyway, the encouraging points, from my point of view:
    – awareness of broader issues (economy, loss of “local solidarity”, education) as a possible factor in crime, as opposed to reactionary or fictional partisan gripes.
    – “emotionally unstable / random slashers, etc” and habitual petty criminals a much greater risk than international terrorist groups, which are quite reasonably placed at the back of the pack — hallelujah!
    – “Drunk-driving traffic accidents, hit-and-runs and other dangerous driving” should be #1 focus of police efforts. I can’t be the only one who agrees law enforcement should be stricter in this area. Psychologically speaking, I would expect a tendency to favour more violent but infrequent crimes (murder, etc) over this, so I’m happily surprised that most Japanese seem to agree with me.

    So in summary, while I don’t want to excuse any prejudicial view of foreigners, these polls seem to show a remarkably sane view of crime that I can only dream of seeing in my own home country.

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