I believe it is well known that Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, but just how safe is it? Let me relate one of my own personal stories to give you an idea.
First of all I live in Daito-shi, a suburb of Osaka, home to nearly 9 million people. My home and school are located a mere 4-minute walk from a moderately busy station used by around 50,000 people per day.
A couple of years ago during our two-week winter holiday, I went back to the states to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays with my family. When I came back after those two weeks, my bags a bit heavier with presents and other goodies from home, I discovered to my surprise that I had forgotten to lock the door to my house.
Now, a lot of the apartment buildings in Japan have a pretty high level of security. In many cases you need to punch in a key just to get into the building plus there is often staff on duty in the lobby to chase and keep loiterers away. This is not the case however in my building. It is completely open so that anyone can at the very least get to your front door unhindered. So, what do you think I discovered upon walking into my apartment?
Of course everything was exactly as I had left it. I had even left ¥70,000 (about U.S. $750) in an envelope near my kitchen table, as well as a note on my whiteboard (just in case my landlord was looking for me in the case of an emergency) indicating that I would be back in two weeks time. It is hard to imagine doing something similar in any other city of comparable size (e.g. Chicago or Rome) and coming back home to find everything untouched.
Moving to another country and starting a new lifestyle can be an enormous challenge and a daunting prospect. There are many things that one will need to consider or even worry about before making such a big change in your life: language, living in a completely different culture, etc. It’s nice to know that before coming to Japan, crime is one thing that you will have little to worry about.
Tom, Too many living outside of Japan this will be an amazing story. After 22 years living in Japan I too as with many others have such fine stories to share. Just a quickie, my wife dropped her wallet at the station. She didn’t know she had lost it however was called by the station master later in the day. She went to the station to claim her wallet and found everything inside. Credit cards, licences and 60,000 yen cash. She asked after who had found so as we could offer our thanks and was told the finder did not wish to be known. Dear Anonymous to this day we remain thankful.
True. There are loads of stories like these. One of my students told me how she got off a bus in Kurume and put her shoppng bag down next to a line of people waiting for another bus and forgot it. She caught a taxi home and didn’t remember until 6 or 7 hours later. Upon returning to the station, she found the bag untouched.
However, things are not always as they seem. I live in Tosu, a small city of about 100,000 or so. In November of 2009, a burglar broke into our locked house (in the middle of the day) and stole millions of yen worth of my wife’s jewelry. People still have to be careful and not let their guard down.