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Security measures have come to the fore as a major concern in the society. This indicates that people have come to feel a real sense of crisis in the increase of crimes and the worsening of offenses so that a sense of security has been replaced with that of anxiety. In Japan, the number of reported penal code offenses has continued to record postwar highs every year since 1996, showing no signs of slow down. In addition, the clearance rate, which had fallen sharply, is slow in recovering. Recent crimes have been noticeable for their heinous nature as shown in a rash of atrocious crimes that have shocked the public, and this trend seems to have a major influence on juvenile offenses. Now the key issues for Japan are to prevent crimes, reduce the number of offenses, and make and maintain a safe society.
This white paper aims to review the actual crime trends and the treatment of offenders covering the year of 2002, from the viewpoints of criminal policies to prevent crimes and reduce the number of offenses. At the same time, we focus on homicide and robbery, including homicide on the occasion of robbery, robbery resulting in death or bodily injury, and rape on the occasion of robbery, which jeopardize or are highly likely to jeopardize people's lives directly. Most cases of homicide and robbery are reported to the investigating authorities, because they account for the majority of the most dangerous and heinous crimes that occurred. Then, under the sub-title of "Changing Nature of Heinous Offenses and Countermeasures against Them," we examine the actual circumstances of those heinous offenses, analyze their background and causes from diverse viewpoints, and survey the countermeasures against them.
In order to reveal the actual situation of the worsening crime in recent years, we focused mainly on larceny in a section of "Increasing Offenses and Offenders" in the White Paper on Crime 2001. In a section of "Present Situation and Trend of Offenses of Violent Nature" in the White Paper on Crime 2002, we analyzed and examined the characteristics of 9 major offenses of robbery, bodily injury, assault, intimidation, extortion, rape, indecent assault, breaking and entering, and destruction of objects. However, the analysis based on published statistical information has some limitation. We believe that we will be able to get closer to the realities of the worsening crime if more thorough analysis and examination are conducted based on empirical surveys as well as based on published statistics. Therefore, in this white paper, we focused on homicide and robbery, the crimes about which the Japanese people are most concerned, and we conducted some nationwide surveys, such as the "Special Survey on Trends in Serious Offenses for which Death Penalty or Life Imprisonment was Demanded at District Courts" and the "Special Survey on Actual Circumstances and Issues of Juveniles who Committed Robbery", and the "Survey on Actual Circumstances of Robberies Committed by Foreign Nationals Visiting Japan who were Convicted at the Tokyo District Court in the Last 5 Years".
In Chapter 1 "Introduction" of Part 5, we clarify the objective of Part 5-describing the worsening crime situation and the mounting anxiety that has spread among the Japanese people. In Chapter 2 "Overview of Recent Heinous Offenses", we review the recent heinous offenses from the basic statistics necessary to grasp the overall picture of heinous offenses. In Chapter 3 "Changes in the Trend of Heinous Offenses (Characteristics of Changes)", we analyze and examine the notable trends and characteristics of recent heinous offenses obtained from the analysis of the statistics and the results of special surveys, from the standpoints of 5 key concepts-"changes in juvenile offenders", "changes in offenders of organized crime groups and foreign nationals", "social background and its influence", "changes in regions where crimes arise", and "increasing damage to females, minors, and elderly people". Then, in Chapter 4 "Special Survey: Actual Conditions and Problems of Recent Juvenile Robbery Offenders", we examine the subject in detail. Next, in Chapter 5 "Special Survey: Trends in Serious Heinous Offenses in Recent Years", we analyze the actual circumstances of the serious heinous offenses for which death penalty or life imprisonment was demanded, citing concrete examples. In Chapter 6 "Actual Circumstances of Criminal Disposition and Treatment of Offenders in Heinous Offenses", we clarify the current disposition of these heinous offenses and the treatment of offenders involved in heinous offenses, describing with concrete examples of the treatment of juvenile offenders in juvenile training schools or under probationary supervision who have committed robbery. Finally, in "Conclusion", we discuss" countermeasures and tasks" in light of the results obtained from the analysis and examination.
It goes without saying that further analysis of causes etc. and more detailed study are required in order to establish effective and proper countermeasures that will last for a long period. It would be our great pleasure if this white paper, in which we tried to propose countermeasures against heinous offenses based on the analysis of heinous offenses, could contribute, even a little, to developing criminal policies concerning the prevention of crime and treatment of offenders.
Lastly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the General Secretariat of the Supreme Court of Japan, National Police Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and other institutions for their enormous cooperation in the preparation of this white paper.
TSURUTA Rokuro PresidentResearch and Training Institute Ministry of Justice Japan
This White Paper was undertaken during Mr. Rokuro Tsuruta's presidency at the Research and Training Institute of the Ministry of Justice, Japan, and thereafter, Mr. Tsuruta has been promoted to Chief Prosecutor of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office.
Otsuka Kiyoaki PresidentResearch and Training Institute Ministry of Justice Japan