The Law and Order Referendum
and other related issues in New Zealand
This set of Crime Statistics from 1984 to 1999 is from the Japan Information Network, and is sourced from the National Police Agency. This comparison of Homicide rates across five countries is part of this Summary of The White Paper on Crime 1998 by the Ministry of Justice in Japan.
Also worth checking out is this data about two thirds way down this page with data from from Nihon Tokei Nenkan in less than perfect English... but containing the only reliable data for car theft in Japan that we could locate anywhere.
The Japan Criminal Policy Society Site is also interesting to look at, gives an insight into how the Japanese justice system works. Victims of crime here may read and weep... More resources can be found here, a page with lots of general and crime specific links, some of which are in Japanese only however.
Japan does have a number of advantages over New Zealand and other Western societies when it comes to crime control. Firstly it is a monocultural and somewhat conservative society, and all of its citizens share much the same values and belief systems. This removes the opportunity of intercultural conflict, at the expense of diversity. New Zealand is on the other hand a diverse, multicultural society, with all the benefits and also problems that implies. There is nothing we can or indeed should do about this.
Related to this is the strong cultural and social strictures against criminal activity. Although sentencing and punishment is severe, the greatest punishment appears to be the social ostracisation brought against those who are caught. Such a strong social/moral code once existed here and in other Western countries, but we appeared to have discarded it along with some outdated ideas that did need to be discarded. Perhaps we as a society need to re-evaluate this and examine the Japanese example.