Source: (2007) Crime and Justice. 36(1): 371-423.

Although many people believe that Japanese crime rates have increased rapidly, they have not. Japan's homicide rates are the lowest in the world and are lower than at any time since World War II. An apparent increase in robbery rates results primarily from changes in police reporting practices. Except for bicycle theft, theft rates are the lowest in the industrialized world and lower than fifteen years ago. Nonetheless, Japan's penal policy has become more severe and less focused on rehabilitation. The contexts and causes of this get-tough shift include a greater sense of public insecurity, economic and social disruption, increased anxieties about foreigners, politicians' emphasis on law and order, and a series of police scandals and notorious crimes. It appears that the long-held "safety myth" about Japanese society is collapsing like a house of cards. (Japan Times, December 10, 2005) Since When Are Water and Safety in Japan No Longer Free? (Title of Motohiko Izawa's [2002] book) (Authors Abstract).