Japanese Pensioners Are Committing Crimes For A Better Life In Prison

Elderly Japanese Prisoners

Free meals, accommodation and healthcare.

Japan is currently experiencing a crime wave of shoplifting amongst the elderly – about 35% of all shoplifting crimes are committed by those over 60, and 40% of these characters have committed the same crime at least six times. The reason: they are desperate to be thrown into jail and take advantage of the free food, accommodation and healthcare as their living costs are at least 25% more than the basic state pension offered in Japan.

Featured Image VIA

A recent study on the economics of elderly crime by Mr Michael Newman of Tokyo-based research house Custom Products Research concluded that even with a frugal diet and dirt cheap accommodation, the average retiree will still struggle to survive on the basic state pension. Mr Akio Doteuchi – a senior researcher on social development at the NLI Research Institute in Tokyo – expects this ratio of repeat offenders to continue to rise as more people seek solace inside the prison system:

The social situation in Japan has forced the elderly into the need to commit crime.

The ratio of people who receive public assistance is highest since the end of the war.

About 40 per cent of the elderly live alone. It’s a vicious circle.

They leave prison, they don’t have money or family so they turn immediately to crime.

Old Japanese Prisoner

The crime figures expose the strained calculus of the government’s welfare spending as the world’s second-biggest economy ages.

Prison, no matter how the spreadsheets are run, is a woefully inefficient way for the government to target welfare spending at those who most need it.

Attempts to find ways to release elderly prisoners early have encountered insurmountable legal problems and the prison system as a whole will eventually be overrun by elderly inmates.

Images VIA

Jesus. That does not sound like it’s going to work over there – in fact it sounds like it could be the whole downfall of their society if they can’t actually put criminals in prison because they’re full of elderly people who are after their resources. Kinda sounds like the kind of ‘cutting edge satire’ that someone like J.G. Ballard or George Orwell would write. Let’s hope they figure out their shit over there before it’s too late.

Given the fact that they’ve already spent a lot of their lives devising these completely weird inventions that actually exist though, I don’t hold out much hope.


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