Geographically, Japan being an island has the advantage that it is easily accessible for imports and exports of illegal trade. Although, this is limited by the government due to the strict laws and careful notation of what goods are travelling in and out of the country. However, where there is a demand for a good there is also a supply and vice versa. This opens the doors for the black market and for criminals, where there is a law preventing them from doing what they want, they will find a way in which to break it; ultimately making them a criminal.
There are many reasons as to why domestic violence is not recorded and makes up a large proportion of the Dark Figure that is problem for all countries over the world. Domestic violence is often not reported to the police as it is an affair within the home. Both men and women are victims, women can find it difficult to talk about the abuse that they suffer, and are scared what would happen if her abuser were to find out that she had told. For men it is often a different reason, if a man is being abused by a woman, then he may find that he feels that his masculinity and pride have been altered for the worst.
Crimes of a sexual nature may not be reported for similar reasons, a woman in court will have to face strong scrutiny for what she has claimed, so many women feel that it is not worth the trauma of having to prove that they ere raped. Again, men may not report this for the fear tat they would then be labelled, and further abused within their local community; and like women would have to face scrutiny in court. Crimes of both a domestic and sexual nature are heard of more in the UK and in the USA other than in Japan.
This would suggest that rather these crimes being on existent in Japan, that these crimes are a much larger proportion of the dark figure and are in fact a problem that needs to be dealt with. Due to the Japanese historical traditions of family and culture loyalties, to commit a crime of the description would same and disgrace the family, in some situations to the extent of disowner-ship. Many of arguments that have been put forward in this essay can and are used for other countries and not only Japan. Globally, dark figures are produced by crimes that are not seen or hidden; a prime example of this would be that crime of organised groups.
As it is difficult to value the true extent of hidden crime, and with the influences that the yakuza had over the government; it therefore may not be the case that Japan's crime rates are as low as what is believed. Still, this is a problem that is faced all over the world and if the dark figure was to be taken into account, the impact it would have on Japan's crime figures it would also have on other countries. What would not be known is that if the dark figure is applied, would Japan's crime rates still be at an international low? What, must also be taken into consideration are the cultural differences that each country possesses.
For example, the extent of shaming in Japan is not a factor affecting the crime rates in the UK and the USA, and the wanting to live the American Dream is not a factor in the UK and Japan. Each country has its own direct and indirect factors that need to be taken into account when measuring and comparing statistics of this nature.
- Aldous, C; Leishman, F; 2001; 'Worlds Apart? Policing in Japan and Britain', in Criminal Justice Matters, No 44, Summer 2001, p 20-21
- Barclay, G; Tavares, C; 2003; 'International Comparisons of Criminal Justice Statistics'; Home Office Research Bulletin 12/03; Home Office; www.homeoffice.gov.uk