Japan is still safe

Good morning everyone,

You're in for a long week if you don't like hot weather. Tomorrow will be the coolest day with a high of only(?) 32C. The rest of the week will see highs continue in the mid-30s with mostly sunny skies. They are calling for rain on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week though...unfortunately it won't cool things down at all...
Mass killings are rare in Japan. Guns are heavily restricted and almost impossible to come by outside of the closed world of yakuza gangsters: police recorded just a single gun fatality for the whole country last year. The weapon of choice on the isolated occasions when someone runs amok is usually a knife.

In 2001, a former school janitor later diagnosed as mentally ill stabbed eight elementary school children to death and injured 13 others with a kitchen knife. Mamoru Takuma, who told police he "wanted to die" and take others with him, was executed for the murders three years later.

In June 2008, Tomohiro Kato, murdered seven people by driving a truck into a crowd of shoppers in Tokyo's Akihabara district and jumping out to slash pedestrians with a knife. Kato had posted details of his attack online before setting off. In letters to his surviving victims, he subsequently attempted to explain the origins of his murderous rage, saying he had been abused as a child. Kato traced his failures in life and his vertiginous descent - aged 25 - into the insecure world of dispatch employment and despair - on the pressures of high school. But he added: "The crime I committed is all my responsibility and I can't possibly blame it on others. I should accept all the blame."

Japan's most infamous modern mass murder came in 1995 when the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult gassed the Tokyo subway in a bizarre plot to take over the government. Twelve people died and 5,000 were injured in what remains the nation's worst terrorist attack. Aum's founder Shoko Asahara said he could commune with the spirits and told his disciples, some of who were from Japan's best universities, that they would elevate their victims to a higher spiritual stage. Asahara was sentenced to hang in 2004 and remains on death row.

Each of these horrific events triggered much soul searching and handwringing that Japan is becoming as crime-ridden as anywhere else. Those statistics simply do not bear that out: the number of recorded crimes last year fell to a post-war low and the country has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world.

While the recent case was the worst mass murder since WWII, we should treat it as an isolated incident, not a trend. Don't worry-Japan is still safe. Oh, except for Funairi-why is there a guy running around stabbing newspaper deliverymen in Funairi?!

Have a great day and don't deliver newspapers in Funairi...it's dangerous down there! Ha ha!


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