Japan's elderly shoplift more than teens; loneliness a factor - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Japan's elderly shoplift more than teens; loneliness a factor

Posted: Updated:
Shoppers at the Kamata Nishiguchi shopping mall in Tokyo. (Source: RetinaFunk/Wikimedia) Shoppers at the Kamata Nishiguchi shopping mall in Tokyo. (Source: RetinaFunk/Wikimedia)
  • InternationalMore>>

  • UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

    UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:14 PM EDT2014-07-25 01:14:57 GMT
    Israeli tanks and warplanes are pummeling the Gaza Strip as U.S. and other diplomats push for a cease-fire with Hamas militants.
    A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and...
  • Ex-Venezuelan intelligence chief detained in Aruba

    Ex-Venezuelan intelligence chief detained in Aruba

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:06 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:06:27 GMT
    Authorities in Aruba say they have detained a former Venezuelan intelligence official on a request from the U.S. government.
    Authorities in Aruba announced Thursday that they arrested a close confidant of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who was sent as that country's consul to the Caribbean island despite being sanctioned by the U.S....
  • Planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:55 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:55:03 GMT
    Ukraine's government says 51 containers holding bodies and body parts of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash are ready to depart for the Netherlands aboard two military transport planes.
    Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the...

(RNN) - Elderly people in Japan shoplift more than teenagers and have become the country's most prolific shoplifters. According to experts, many of them steal because they're lonely.

A report released by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police found that 3,321 people aged 65 or older were arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in 2012, reported the Japan Daily Press. The number accounted for 24.5 percent of the total number of shoplifting arrests.

In contrast, the elderly's teenage counterparts accounted for 23.6 percent of shoplifting arrests.

Poverty is a predominant reason for shoplifting, with some people unable to live off their pension, if they have one. But experts also point to social reasons for the increase in petty theft.

"Senior citizens shoplift lunch boxes and bread out of poverty, and they also steal because they are lonely and isolated," said Yusuke Ishikawa, a special assistant to the director of the supervision division at the Ministry of Justice, in an interview with the Vancouver Sun.

"Loneliness and frugality play a major role. In the old days, someone used to talk to them when they shopped downtown, but now they only have big stores nearby and nobody talks to them. I think they get kind of frustrated and do it when they lose interaction in the neighborhood."

About half of Japan's 10 million elderly households are elderly men and women living alone.

Another reason for the increase in elderly shoplifting is that once workers retire at the age of 65, they feel unwanted, according to Koh Fukui, an executive officer at the National Shoplifting Prevention Organization.

"Many worked tirelessly through Japan's boom years, and when they hit 60 or 65, they realized they were no longer needed. That's what's happening in Japan," Fukui told the Sun.

Elderly people in prison means more costs. In the United States, elderly prisoners cost $66,000 per year – about twice as much as younger prisoners. In Japan, statistics weren't available to determine the exact cost of elderly prisoners, but the Sun reported the government spent more than $83 million to renovate prisons to accommodate the elderly with elevators, handrails and ramps.

But it's not just shoplifting that is the reason for the increase in Japan's elderly prison population. Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world, at 83 years, and is now the world's oldest country.

More elderly people simply means more elderly people in prison. Japan has the fastest-growing number of elderly prisoners in the world, which has been a topic of concern in the country the past few years.

The growth in shoplifting could mean more of these elderly prisoners get longer sentences.

According to the Japan Times, repeat offenders get stiff sentences, and many people become repeat offenders after being arrested for petty crimes, such as shoplifting.

Meanwhile, Japan's elderly could face cuts to their pensions due to government spending cutbacks.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.