Japan’s police hunt for things to do

Japanese police run out of crimes, Nigerian Police overrun by Kidnappers

Japanese police are running out of crimes to deal with. According to local sources, there was just one fatal shooting in Japan in the whole of 2015.

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“Crime rates have been falling for 13 years. The murder rate of 0.3 per 100,000 people is among the lowest in the world; in America it is almost 4. A single gun slaying was recorded for the whole of 2015. Even yakuza gangsters, once a potent criminal force, have been weakened by tougher laws and old age,” Kanako Takayama of Kyoto University told The Economist

And to keep themselves busy, the Japanese police are becoming more inventive about what constitutes a crime. Takayama reveals that there was a case of the arrest of a group of people who had shared the cost of renting a car. The Japanese police deemed the arrangement an illegal taxi.

In some local government areas of the country, some Japanese police have begun prosecuting people who ride their bicycles through red lights.

In 2015, a man was arrested for scribbling Adolf Hitler moustaches onto posters of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister. And some detectives have started appearing without permission on university campuses, to monitor “troublesome” students.

The Japan Times was first to expose how police were stretching their mandate in “Creating laws out of thin air.”

Despite the falling crime rate, the Japanese police are growing in numbers. Japan now has over 259,000 uniformed officers, which is 15,000 more than a decade ago, when crime rates were far higher.

Nigerian Police
But while Japanese police are running out of crimes to fight, Nigerian Police have been overrun with myriads of criminal activities such as kidnapping and armed robbery.

No wonder the arrest On 11 June 2017 of Nigeria’s most notorious kidnapper Evans by the Intelligence Response Team of the Nigerian police was celebrated with trophy selfies splattered all over social media, an action that was heavily criticised by superstar nollywood actress Kate Henshaw, lambasting Nigerian police as unprofessional.

But the Japanese police have one thing in common with their Nigerian counterpart: they are oddly inefficient, according to The Economist. Even though there are so many officers and so few crimes, they solve less than 30% of them. Confessions, often made under duress, form the basis of most criminal prosecutions. The courts dismissed the case of the beer thief in Kagoshima, despite all the work that went into it.

“Japan is almost crime-free not thanks to the police,” says Yoshihiro Yasuda, a campaigning lawyer, to The Economist “but because people police themselves.”

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