Some comparisons between Japan and the U.S.

Comparing the U.S. to Japan requires us to take one major item into consideration, and that is population size. Roughly Japan's population is half that of the U.S., so any direct comparisons should multiply any Japanese number by two and then see if the result is significantly different from the U.S. number. I'll be doing that for a variety of statistics and will be adding my own comments.

The statistics come from the book On an Average Day in Japan by Tom Heymann, so all numbers are for things for one average day in either country.

23 sets of twins are born in Japan on an average day. If we adjust this for population difference then there theoretically should be 46 sets born in the U.S., but in fact some 217 sets of twins are born each day. This could possibly be one of the many results of the Japanese having such a homogeneous society genetically.

1940 Japanese couples are married. Theoretically the U.S. number would be 3880, but in fact some 6567 couples are married each day in the U.S. 422 couples are divorced in Japan each day while some 3,197 couples are divorced in the U.S., indicating a much greater divorce rate in the U.S. and a much lower marrying rate.

Particularly interesting are statistics on pregnancies. In Japan some 124 women under the age of 20 become pregnant each day. Theoretically in direct comparison there would be 40 per day in the U.S., but the actual number is 2.064 indicating a very major problem with pregnancies at a young age. This is especially interesting in light of the very wide availability of birth-control devices for both sexes. 62% of the Japanese women will get abortions, while only 37% of the American women will get abortions.

Another indication of trouble in the ranks of the young is the runaway rate. In Japan some 287 children run away from home each day, pretty much evenly divided between the sexes. In the U.S. the number is 2740. 2% of the Japanese runaways end up committing crimes, while 19% of the American youth will become involved in crimes. This obviously indicates that, in some way, Japanese families are more cohesive than American families and the youth are less inclined to crime.

One very interesting statistic is the suicide number. 67 people commit suicide on an average day in Japan. Theoretically, then, the U.S. number should be about 134, but it's actually only 84, indicating that the U.S. has a much lower suicide rate than Japan. Also, some 64% of the suicides in Japan are by men, while almost 80% of the suicides in the U.S. are by men.

Some 2,200,000 Japanese are classed as alcoholics, while some 10,500,000 are in the U.S. This number may be deceptive, however, because there is a strong possibility of an under-reporting of the alcoholism rate by the Japanese. Going out to drink after work with one's fellow workers is basically an expectation in Japanese society and to get a better idea of the actual alcoholism rate in their country you would need to see how many of those people would still have a drinking problem if they were no longer expected to have social drinking.

Another rather unexpected statistic I found was relating to fires. In Japan there are some 163 fires on an average day while in the U.S. there are some 6,384 fires. This is about 19 times the expected rate. About 15% of those Japanese fires are caused by arson but only about 3% of the American fires are arson-related.

In the matter of pets there is also a considerable difference although this is easily attributed to the small amount of room Japanese homes have. Japanese have some 6 million cats and 7 million dogs, but in the U.S. there are some 57.9 million cats and 50.5 million dogs.

A very telling statistic relates to the crime rate in the two countries. 4,584 crimes are committed each day in Japan; 1,177 people are arrested, and 214 sent to prison. Some 93,474 crimes are committed each day in the U.S., though, and this is some 10 times the expected rate. 34,795 Americans are arrested each day. About 15 times as many people are arrested in the U.S. as would be theoretically expected. Some 1,593 people are sent to prison each day in the U.S. From what I have read the U.S. has the highest percentage of its population in jail of any country in the world.

However, it's also interesting to examine some sub-areas of those numbers. 1,876 cars are stolen in Japan each day while 3,926 are stolen in the U.S., very close to what would be expected so the Japanese are stealing cars are basically the same rate as Americans are stealing them.

Again, though, American's problem with youth crime is very evident. 559 children are arrested in Japan each day, 236 are which under 15 years of age with 4 arrested for felonies. In the U.S. some 4477 children are arrested each day which is about 4 times the expected rate. Unexpectedly, though, the Japanese have a higher rate of arrests among the very young. Only 32% of the youth arrested in the U.S. are under 15, but some 42% of the Japanese arrested are under 15.

On the other hand the felony/serious crime rate comparison is truly frightening. 4 Japanese youth are arrested each day for felonies, so we would expect 8 American youth. However, the actual number arrested for serious crimes is some 1640, some 205 times the expected rate!

One probable reason for this is the drug problem in the U.S. among youth. For example, on an average day 3 pounds of marijuana are seized each day by police in Japan. The U.S. rate is 540 times that theoretically expected! The cocaine seizure rate in the U.S. is 172 times that expected. Drugs lead without any doubt at all to a higher crime rate.

5 Japanese are robbed each day, while 1,491 Americans are robbed. This is some 149 times the expected rate. 5 Japanese are raped each day, while some 254 Americans are raped. This is some 25 times the expected rate. 4 Japanese are murdered each day, 57 Americans, 7 times the expected rate. There can be no doubt whatever that the U.S. has a much, much higher crime rate.

Another example of a major problem with American youth is found in the amount of homework done each day. Japanese children do some 2 hours and 4 minutes of homework each day. That would be some 124 minutes; by comparison American children only do 25 minutes of homework a day. In other words Japanese children spend almost 5 times as much time on homework each time as American children. Another factor to consider is that a large proportion of Japanese children attend not just regular school each day but may spend several hours at a special "cram" school. No wonder they spend more time on homework!