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Japan’s overall crime down, but phone scams rise

  • December 24, 2021
  • , NHK WORLD , 3:15 p.m.
  • English Press

A Japanese government report on crime says more needs to be done to tackle phone scams and other schemes that defrauded people of nearly 250 million dollars last year.

 

This year’s white paper on crime was submitted to a Cabinet meeting on Friday. It says police dealt with about 614,000 criminal offenses in 2020, the lowest figure in the postwar era.

 

But cybercrime cases, including online fraud and child prostitution, rose for the fourth-straight year to about 8,700.

 

The report says there were about 7,400 cases of fraud, the highest number since 2004. The cases included phone scams, in which swindlers tricked people into transferring their money.

About 15 percent of all swindlers were members of crime syndicates.

 

Around 70 percent were under 30. About 85 percent of the victims were 65 or older. Total losses stood at about 28.5 billion yen, or about 250 million dollars.

 

The report stresses the need for the government and the private sector, including financial institutions, to work together to tackle the crimes.

 

The number of crime cases handled by police had been declining an average of 9.2 percent year-on-year in the five years up to 2019. Last year’s figure saw a sharper drop, down 17.9 percent.

 

The Justice Ministry believes the coronavirus pandemic may have caused the decline.

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