Japan police: Penal code offenses in 2023 up by 100,000 from 2022

Japan's National Police Agency says the country saw over 100,000 more penal code offenses last year than in 2022.

The agency's crime situation report for 2023 counted 703,351 penal code offenses known to the police, up 102,020 from the previous year.

Penal code offenses peaked at 2.854 million in 2002. The number then declined for 19 consecutive years until 2021, when it marked a record postwar low of 568,000. But it has been climbing again for two years in a row.

Street crimes such as bicycle theft, injury and assault increased 21 percent from 2022, totaling 243,987.

The agency attributes the surge to people becoming more active with the downgrading of the coronavirus.

Serious offenses such as murder and robbery increased 30 percent to 12,372.

Cases of special fraud, involving telephone calls and other communication tools, totaled 19,033 -- the highest figure in the past 15 years.

The damage amounted to about 44.12 billion yen, or nearly 300 million dollars, about 47 million dollars more than in 2022.

Damage from online banking fraud totaled some 8.6 billion yen, or about 58 million dollars, a record high.

In addition, the police reported 122,806 children under the age of 18 to child consultation centers on suspicion of being victims of abuse.

The agency described the crime situation as severe. It vowed to prevent any lapses in patrolling and promote comprehensive measures to ensure the public's safety and peace of mind.