Q: International terrorism is on the rise. What counterterrorism measures will Japan take in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics four years from now?
Matsumoto: Incidents involving Japanese victims have been increasing, as evidenced by the Bangladesh terrorist attack. The “Islamic State” (IS), an Islamic militant group, has repeatedly stated that it will target Japanese. The threat of terrorism is real. We would like to enhance information gathering and analysis by closely working with foreign intelligence services and take thorough counterterrorism measures.
Q: How do you assess the current domestic security situation?
Matsumoto: The number of criminal offenses reported to the police continues to decline. Last year, the number hit a postwar low. This is, I believe, a result of joint efforts by the government and the private sector to reduce crime. However, heinous crimes targeting women and children, and certain types of fraud [such as the remittance scam] are still being committed. I think further efforts by the government are needed to improve domestic security.
Q: Conflicts between the Sixth Yamaguchi-gumi and the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime syndicates remain prevalent.
Matsumoto: The two groups have committed homicides across the country, posing a threat to the public. It is important to take measures to prevent this criminal activity from affecting our citizens. After having officially acknowledged on March 7 of this year that the two groups are in conflict, the police have arrested about 900 group members. By thoroughly enforcing the crackdown, we want to weaken and eventually dismantle the groups.
Q: What will be the role of the police in autonomous vehicle technology?
Autonomous vehicle technology reduces traffic accidents and eases congestion. The police will actively support the technology. It is expected that a fully autonomous vehicle will be developed in the future, which will require systematic changes such as revising the Road Traffic Law. I want to complete these necessary tasks in cooperation with the relevant ministries and agencies.