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Crime in Japan Drops to Lowest Post-War Level, 2020 Data Show

A police officer asks people to refrain from going out after 8 p.m. in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo on Jan. 8, 2021 during the first day under a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan’s National Police Association (NPA) said Thursday the total number of crimes in the country dropped to historic levels in 2020 for the sixth year in a row, thanks at least in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in the same report, the NPA says domestic abuse and cyber crimes reached record levels.

The NPA data show the crime rate in 2020 hit the lowest level since World War II with a sharp decline in street crime as people stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, crime dropped by nearly 18% from the 2019 figure, the largest drop ever.

An NPA official told the Kyodo news agency that the pandemic certainly had an impact – and will continue to have an impact on crime in Japan. But it also exacerbated domestic abuse and police will have to take measures to address it, such as responding more swiftly to abuse reports.

The NPA says cybercrime cases increased just more than 4% in 2020 with the number of suspicious internet connection attempts detected by police rising more than 55% to a daily average of 6,506.4 per IP address.

NPA officials suspect that increase is likely attributed to more people working remotely amid the pandemic, and the increased use of home appliances and other devices connected to the internet.