Have any of you been wondering why we’re hearing so little lately from Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara about gaijin criminals and undesirable sangokujin? Look no further than his trip to Beijing to attend the opening ceremonies.
Yes, it certainly helps that violent crime committed by gaijin has been dropping precipitously from its 2004 peak at 345 to 270 in 2007 (though murders committed by gaijin have remained relatively stable, going from 40 to 41 during that same period*). But where Mr. Ishihara is concerned, I’m sure that his reticence has far more to do with what he hopes will be his last great act as Governor, Tokyo’s candidacy for the 2016 Olympics**.
So my advice to you, MTC if you want some peace and quiet for the next eight years is to pray to your god or whatever moves you for Tokyo to prevail. You don’t want an angry Mr. Ishihara hunting for gaijin scalp.
* Media-wise, the number of murders is less relevant than the number of Japanese victims. Gaijin-on-gaijin crime will not attract much attention unless it is part of a larger pattern involving, say, a turf fight between Iranian drug-dealer groups. This has nothing to do with racism; witness the near-absolute US indifference to Iraqi casualties over the last five years.
** The official website is available in English, Chinese (national Olympic Committees: China, Hong Kong, Singapore) and Korean (…North and South Korea), but not in Arabic (…Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Jordan…), French (…France, Belgium, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire…) or Spanish (…Spain, Mexico, Argentina…), three other languages that would be widely appreciated. Too late to drop Chinese and Korean, but someone should alert Mr. Ishihara.
Incidentally, I found this old article on gaijin crime while I was searching for data on this issue. To quote:
Over the past two decades, crimes committed by foreigners have never exceeded about 4% of all crime in Japan, and typically the yearly average has been between 2% and 3%. Foreigners currently make up just over 1% of Japan's total population, so they are only slightly over-represented in the figures. Despite this, the police, lawmakers and the media have focused on foreign crime as if it were one of the most serious issues facing Japan. For example, five of the 16 annual Police White Paper policy reports published between 1987 and 2003 took crimes committed by foreigners as their main theme.
Double, triple the overall crime rate? Sounds pretty high to me. Actually, much if not most of it should be explained away by the different demographics. Still, this is sloppy scholarship. More deceptively, yes, Police White Papers during this period did take up gaijin crime several times—as one of a dozen or so topics, not “main theme”, each year.
Intellectual fraud, or honest mistake? I report, you decide.