Table Speech

”Recent Issues on Security”

Novembert 30th, 2005

Japan Automobile Federation
Vice Chairman
Setsuo Tanaka

 In looking at the state of security, there are two ways: one is indexed security that looks at it quantitatively, and the other is the perceptible security that relies more on perception. In a quantitative sense, the number of incidents of crimes that violate the criminal law, such as murders, burglaries, thefts, and the like, increased each year until peaking in 2002, from which time the number began to decline. In particular, street crimes and home break-ins using lock picking and thumb turning are increasing rapidly. Crimes committed by minors, illegal aliens, and resident aliens, and crimes using the Internet, cell phones, and credit cards are also on an increase. Group suicide using the Internet is a new social phenomenon that had not been seen in the past. However, in comparison with other countries, the level of crime is still at a safe level, but looking at it in a time series the security in Japan has been deteriorating.

 In terms of perception, many people feel that security in Japan is deteriorating. Young females being killed in a local city, and when a stereotypical crime of deteriorating security takes place, our senses tell us security has deteriorated. When crimes against children and women take place in a familiar setting, it is difficult to feel that security is being restored. How to make the citizens feel that recovery is being achieved is an issue that cannot be slighted.

 Then, there is the issue of terrorism. The anxiety over whether a terrorist act would take place, and anxiety over what is to be done if such an act takes place, is becoming strongly felt among the people.

 Behind the anxiety is the weakening of the power of Japanese society to restrain crime, which long had been a source of pride, can be cited as the number one cause. The decline among the people in the sense of belonging to the state, community, family, or the workplace has weakened the sense of solidarity, and as a result has weakened a potent force in crime restraint. With internationalization, when the Japanese companies expand overseas, the awareness of national restrictions is weakened. There is no boundary over the Internet. From an excessive recusal of regulations an atmosphere of ignoring even the societal restrictions that need to be maintained are spreading over the society.

 The second cause that can be cited is the advances made in the information communication society. There is no arguing that cellular telephones and the Internet have been an inducing factor for crime.

 In a process of deterrence being eroded, it must be said that the cost awareness against security was lacking. Once security breaks down, it takes a great amount of resources to recover security. This fact is under-appreciated in Japan. How, then, can the security trends be improved?

 A general system to combat domestic common crimes needs to be put in place. Under the plan to strengthen the police enforcement capabilities, an increase in staffing by 10,000 over 3 years is included, but a further strengthening, including equipment, is needed.

 The criminal law structure needs to be revamped. New laws against domestic violence and stalkers need to be put in place, and reforms in juvenile law need to be quickened, and it is essential to put in place an environment in which the police can respond appropriately. Aggressive use of scientific technology in responding to crimes that use the Internet and credit cards is needed. In crimes committed by foreigners, domestic laws need to be strengthened based on treaties with other countries, and a change of the state from being a country that facilitates crime to one that deters crime is required.

 Next is the rebuilding of the local community. In both urban areas and in the regions, it is crucial to exploit the power of the community. There is a theory referred to as “broken windows theory.” It says that if you leave one house with broken windows in a neighborhood, the whole neighborhood will decline. If the neighborhood acts with a unified front to prevent crime, good results should come.

 The terrorist issue requires the fortification of the capacity to gather information and a system to analyze the information. Measures against cyber-terrorism cannot be overlooked. If the computers and Internet are disabled, the workings of the society are put to a standstill. There is a likelihood of an increase in crimes committed by computer devotees. The way of prevention is not to let up on maintaining measures against new systems on a day-to-day basis.