Japan's Seniors Turn to Crime

Violence surges among over-65s
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 17, 2008 9:10 AM CDT
Emperor Akihito talks to people at an institution for elderly care in 2007 in Osaka.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – It's not the kids who are causing hand-wringing in Japan these days, but the elderly, who are responsible for a crime wave, the Daily Telegraph reports. With some 49,000 people over the age of 65 convicted of crimes ranging from petty theft to murder last year—more than triple a decade earlier—Japan finds itself building three prison wards to house senior delinquents.

“In the past, elderly people were revered and cared for in Japanese society, living in the same homes with their children and families. That has gone now, and they don't recognize their own neighborhood,” says the author of The Elderly Out of Control. And with some seniors treating jail as refuge in a struggling economy, “I really don't see this situation getting any better in the near future. In fact, I'm sure it will get much worse.”