Plunge Pontificates

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Monday, May 08, 2006

First Morals and Now Character

First, a post on the downfall of the morals of Japan, now the character as theft and crime are on the rise.

Crime and criminal activities in Japan are relatively low compared to most of the industrial societies in the world. Writing in the late 1970s the eminent Harvard sociologist Ezra Vogel in his book Japan as Number One showered praise on Japan for its low crime rates and the orderly society of Japan that the Americans could only envy.

Crime rates in Japan remain low even today and Japan is considered a fairly 'safe' society. It is not unusual for people of all ages and gender even in metropolitan Tokyo to walk home late at night from train stations without the fear of being mugged or physically assaulted.

However, crime and criminal activities are increasing steadily and some kinds of crime that are being committed in Japan today were unthinkable when Ezra Vogel was writing about Japan or even a decade ago. The total number of reported crimes has more than doubled in the last two decades. Homicides, robberies, rapes, internet and computer-related crimes are on the rise.
Another disturbing trend in Japan. Japan has always been unique in the fact that you had a first world country without the underlying crime you have always found in other countries. It is unfortunate to find Japan catching up with the rest of the world in this regard.

Experts are of the opinion that as the number of retired people rises in Japan so will geriatric crime. According to Takeshi Kitashiba, a former psychologist with the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo, "2006 is the first year of the Neo-Geriatric", as many baby boomers retire this year. Talking to the Japanese weekly Shukan Gendai, he commented that "Neo-Geriatrics are those over 65 who are still fit, healthy and want to get more out of their lives. Without work, they'll be filled with anxiety and there's a likelihood they may turn to crime. Make no mistake, there will be a significant rise in crimes committed by Neo-Geriatrics."
Crime because of boredom? Or is it because they are forced out of a job and still need money?

While the motives behind elderly crime are not clearly known as it has barely registered as a social problem with researchers and government policy makers, there are some obvious possible reasons for the rising crime among the retirees in Japan.

First and foremost, Japan's traditional family structure where the elderly people were cared by their offspring has broken down. While they themselves looked after their parents, their children do not look after them, leaving these people with a sense of isolation and dejection.

Furthermore, most of these retirees are from the baby boomer generation who worked hard and tirelessly and spent most of their time at the workplace all of a sudden have enormous 'free time' and they don't know what to do with it. Thus they do something silly perhaps to seek attention of their family members or even government.

Moreover, although Japan is a rich country and one would expect that most of these retirees will have a good income stream through their pension funds, surveys have found that about two-thirds of the retirees in Japan are unable to live on their pensions alone. Some of them even feel that by committing crimes they will go to prison where they can live comfortably and safely. Japan's prisons are relatively safe and offer good living conditions making some criminal psychologists think that for a lonely and struggling person the prison atmosphere could be simply tempting.

As Japanese society is greying faster than any other industrial societies, it is not just the pensions system, the family structure and aged care facilities that are in need of fixing...
Japan really seems to be pulling itself apart at the seems. Traditions are breaking down and the things that held the nation together are being forgotten. These things seem to be happening world wide. The world is pulling itself apart and Japan is caught up in the trend

This ol world could become a pretty scary place in a few years.