It's not an empty generalisation to say that Japan is a safe country. By comparison to the US there were less than a dozen gun related crimes in 2013 against tens of thousands. It has its fair share of unhinged individuals of course, stalking is a problem and obsessives can demonstrate what can only be described as surreal behaviour. The police can sometimes struggle to recognise a deteriorating situation. But as a culture, it is safe.
Woman can walk the streets at night without concern of attack. The biggest problem is probably going to come from speeding scooters and drunk drivers into the early hours. In a country where many work late into the night, it's not unusual to see office women returning home late after midnight. Indeed, it's generally considered so safe that parents are often required by schools to allow their children to journey to school on their own from a young age as part of their personal development.
And there lies the problem. The natural alarm bells that we develop as we grow up, warning us that a situation, if not necessarily unsafe, at least requires increased awareness, often don't exist. And this, combined with a low level of foreign language skills, can lead to tragedy when travelling abroad. So the answer to the question "is Japan safe" can definitely be said to be "yes". Does it teach you to be safe? Well that's an altogether different question.
|Yoshihiro Hattori, 11/22/75 - 10/17/92|