Overview: Crime in Japan and the United States
In the Uni ted States awareness of Japan has increased rapidly in recent decades, largely due to what was perceived as a growing economic threat. With economic anxiety, however, came a certain amount of cross-cultural curiosity. Among the points ofinterest is Japan's surprisingly low crime rate. Though less dazzling than the economic achievements of "Japan Inc.," facts such as this low level of crime have continued to draw our attention to anational phenomenon that is far more complex and, I feel, far more interesting than the simple ability to produce good, small cars. Although Japan was mired in a deep recession in the 1990s, with bankruptcies and suicides being linked to the economic despair, it was not long aga that Americans were apprehensive that the Japanese were out to buy up some of the most prestigious properties--including RockefeIler Center in New York City-in the United States. Michael Crichton's bestselling novel Rising Sun (1992), in which powerful Japanese business interests attempt to thwart a murder investigation in Los Angeles, only added fuel to the fire.