Japan: Elderly overtake teenagers in crime figures

  • 16 July 2015
Elderly people walking in a street in Tokyo
Image caption Over-65s now make up 26% of Japan's population, and the figure is expected to rise

Police in Japan have dealt with more elderly crime than juvenile crime in the past six months, it's reported.

It's the first time that people over the age of 65 have surpassed teenagers in crime statistics since 1989, when Japan's National Police Agency started publishing age-related crime data, the Kyodo News Agency reports. Officers took action against more than 23,000 elderly people in the first half of the year, compared to fewer than 20,000 youngsters aged between 14 and 19, officials figures show.

Japan has seen a fall in overall crime rates over the past 10 years, but not among its growing elderly population. The new figures show that violent crime committed by the over-65s rose by more than 10% compared to the same period last year. Of the country's 127 million people, more than a quarter are now of retirement age, but the government has warned that the figure is likely to grow significantly in the coming decades.

South Korea, which has a similarly long-lived population, has also been dealing with a sharp rise in elderly crime rates. Experts in the country suggest a combination of isolation and poverty are to blame, and there have been calls for the government to do more to support people later in life.

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