Globe-spanning foreign criminal organizations have secretly been building up their operations in Japan in recent years, according to a National Police Agency (NPA) white paper for fiscal 2010 submitted to the Cabinet on July 23.
According to a special "globalized crime" section of the report, the types of crimes perpetrated by foreigners in Japan are changing at the same time as criminal activity involving the movement of people money and the flow of information over borders is building -- presenting what the agency emphasizes is "a threat to public order."
The globalization of crime "could very well cause a tectonic shift in the public order of our nation," the report declares. "From this point on, law enforcers are required to respond to the situation in an appropriate manner."
Previously, crimes perpetrated by foreigners tended to be of the "hit and run" variety, committed during short-term stays in Japan and followed with the criminal fleeing the country. However, in recent years, cases of global foreign criminal organizations targeting Japan, and the formation of criminal groups in Japan made up of foreigners from many countries, have been conspicuous -- a trend dubbed "the globalization of crime."
As an example, the report cites a 2007 tear gas spray attack on a jewelry store clerk and theft of a 280 million yen tiara from the shop in Tokyo's Ginza area by a Montenegrin group called the "Pink Panther" gang. It also details a 2006-2009 scam by a primarily Nigerian group that used fake credit cards to buy electronics from volume dealers, which they then sold to used electronics shops. Another example is a Pakistani, Cameroonian, Sri Lankan and Japanese group which stole heavy construction equipment in some 500 cases from 2002 to 2008, dismantled them and exported the parts.
There are also cases of foreigners involved in drug dealing, smuggling counterfeit goods, Internet-based computer hacking and money laundering, and some of them in connection with Japan's own yakuza criminal organizations.
This year, the NPA is formulating a strategy to counter the globalized crime trend, and has set up a special "globalized crime countermeasures" unit. The agency is also strengthening cooperation and information exchanges with foreign public security agencies via diplomatic channels and Interpol. It is also building on extradition treaties for the smooth extradition of criminals.
July 23, 2010