I’ve been to Japan several times and one thing that’s always fascinated me is that I always feel very safe when visiting Japan.
Why is that?
Japanese people are taught from birth to show great respect for all humans. To help make Japan a safer place they have Laws and Crime preventions everywhere to make everyone feel safe.
Apparently, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. Not only for tourists but for the people living there as well.
You might be surprised that when you visit Japan, it’s pretty common to see unsupervised children using public transportation to go to their schools.
If you accidentally left your valuables in a public place, chances are, it will still be there when you get back untouched, or it will be on the nearest lost and found station.
There are many reasons why Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world. Continue reading to find out more about why Japan is so safe.
To start off, Japan has an incredibly low crime rate. For 16 consecutive years, the total number of criminal acts committed in the country has been steadily declining.
In fact, Japan ranks 5th in Safety and Security of the recent Global Peace Index.
What’s even more impressive is that last 2017, Japan set a new record of crime occurrences since World War II with a total of a million cases of all kinds of crime committed.
For comparison, the United States has 1.2 million cases of violent crimes only.
Murder is even lower, with only a rate of 0.3 cases per 100,000 people. More so, gun-related-deaths rarely rise above 10 every year.
The reason for such a low crime rate? The Japanese people are contented. They don’t have the desire to resort to crimes especially when it comes to meeting their own needs.
It’s all because of low inequality between their citizens and a stable and prosperous economy. Japan has extremely low rates of poverty and unemployment as well.
Unlike other countries, where most of the crimes committed are money or wealth-related.
Since Japan suffered from their own and other countries’ doings during World War II, especially the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese made every effort to turn away from violence.
Their first step is by almost getting rid of weapons that their main purpose is to commit violence against each other.
This is why there are only one in 175 households in Japan has firearms. For comparison, the rate of gun ownership in the US is one every three households.
Some higher level of firearms is also illegal, and the ones that aren’t are heavily regulated.
If you are to buy a gun in Japan, you have to undergo extensive background checks and go to safety classes every three years. Plus, carrying traditional weapons in public like samurai or swords are banned too.
Japan also has an efficient legal system. According to their officials, 98% of homicide cases are solved and 99% of all suspects have their day in court.
This is certainly thanks to the low criminal cases in Japan where even their own authorities recognize that they have more policemen than criminals.
So whenever a grave case comes up, they dedicate almost all their time to it.
Police visibility is also an important factor when it comes to promoting safety in Japan. There are a lot of small police stations, called Koban, which are strategically placed around their cities and neighborhoods.
Koban is no bigger than a single room, all they have is a desk and a couple of chairs, but their presence helps deter any criminals from taking action.
Plus, people can easily reach the police whenever they need to report something suspicious or return lost property. This is incredibly important if you’re visiting Japan.
Prevention is better than cure, and this applies when it comes to promoting safety in Japan.
You might not notice these things on your visit but there are a couple of things that Japan does in order to deter criminals and prevent any sort of lawbreaking.
Here are some of them:
Establishments in Japan, especially those that are prone to theft or any other criminal activities, hire security guards to work part-time at night. Most of them are retirees.
Their main duty is not essentially to apprehend criminals themselves but more to alert potential suspicious activity and discourage any criminals to act because of their presence.
Almost zero tolerance for illegal drugs
Japan doesn’t support poor decision-making, which is why even if other countries, especially Western ones, are becoming lenient to the use of drugs like Marijuana, Japan has a low tolerance for them and their users.
In fact, Japan denies entry to famous foreign celebrities who have drug convictions. This is because Japanese entertainers are expected to be role models to their society and foreign celebrities are not exempted from that.
This is why if ever they are caught using drugs, they are made to apologize to their fans on the public and face the consequences of their law.
Limited immigration policy
Japan is not that open to foreign immigration not because they think that foreigners directly cause crime but it’s more of preserving their own tradition and culture that contributes to making their society safe.
The Japanese government fears that the influx of foreigners in the country would lead to a social distraught especially in a country where they are bonded by one culture.
Culture and Mentality
Perhaps this is the most important factor in why Japan is so safe. The culture and mentality of Japan work together to produce a safe society.
Japan, like most of the Eastern countries, is a collectivist society anchored on family values and traditions.
Meaning, Japanese values and prioritizes their society more than their own.
This also goes to putting their own family first before themselves. Because of that, they don’t do anything that can bring shame to their family and ancestors, especially with something as severe as committing a crime, no matter how small it is.
Most importantly, Japan shapes their children to become responsible citizens. In fact, the Japanese education system is the envy of other countries.
Did you know that exams are basically non-existent for Japanese kids up until grade four?
This is because Japan teaches their children with qualities of grit, self-control, and justice. They believe that children should acquire manners first before any educational knowledge that you might learn in your school.
The first three years are dedicated to establishing good manners and develop their character.
This is why if you lost your wallet in Japan, it’s highly unlikely for you to not get it back. Because Japanese people are taught to be polite and right-doing from childhood.
In addition to that, anger and aggression are considered shameful in their society because it doesn’t promote their tradition of being collectivistic.
Japan puts high importance on personal honor and social protocols.
This is why a common cause for criminals in Japan turning themselves in is unbearable guilt and shame.
Safety tips for tourists
A low crime rate doesn’t mean that crimes don’t occur in Japan. In fact, common crimes in the country are petty thefts.
Plus, if you have visited Japan previously, you might’ve noticed that foreigners tend to stick out.
So here are a couple of things that you can do to ensure a safe vacation in Japan:
Download the app “Safety tips”
Safety tips is a push-enabled information alert app for foreign tourists in Japan made by the Japan Tourism Agency.
This is a great all-rounder app that has all the relevant emergency information that you need.
It’s not only for crime-related but also gives you a nice heads-up when it comes to earthquake information, weather and volcanic warnings, and other information on medical and transportation.
Use your intuition and common sense
Even if Japan is one of the safest countries, that doesn’t mean that you can be careless.
Still stay alert when it comes to your belongings to avoid theft. It’s always better to be on the side of caution.
Plan and research your travel in advance
Get to know the place you’re visiting by doing some light research on them.
This goes to the small crimes that are prevalent in the area that you want to take caution on. Always remember that a safe traveler is a prepared one.
Japan is known for a lot of things other than their safety conditions that are the envy of other countries — great food, culture, and tourist places.
It’s definitely a common travel destination for most travelers. Now that you know how safe Japan is, are you ready to book your plane ticket?