How Japan's Murder Rate Got To Be So Incredibly Low


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Japan's homicide rate has been steadily decreasing since the 1950s, and now the country has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world, according to a new United Nations report.

Fewer than one person is murdered for every 100,000 in the population compared to 4.8 for the United States and 44.7 in Belize.

So how did Japan get its own murder rate to be so low?

From the report:


The country's homicide rate is associated with a stable and prosperous society with low inequality and high levels of development. Young Japanese males now commit only a tenth of the homicides committed by their predecessors in 1955, and the age and sex distribution of victims tend to be uniform across age groups. This has been attributed by some researchers to, amongst other factors, extremely low levels of gun ownership (1 in 175 households), a greater chance of detection (according to police data, 98 per cent of homicide cases are solved), the rejection of violence after the Second World War, the growth of affluence without the accompanying concentrations of poverty common in many highly developed countries, and the stigma of arrest for any crime in Japanese society.

Check out this chart that shows how Japan stacks up against other countries:

Japan homicide rates chart

Unlike the U.S., Japan has strict gun laws. Most guns are illegal, and there are tight restrictions on purchasing the few firearms that are allowed in the country, according to The Atlantic. Japan also has a rigorous testing and background check process for those who seek to purchase a gun.

To put it all into perspective, the U.S. saw more than 12,000 firearm-related homicides in 2008, while Japan had only 11.