In May 2000, we sent questionnaires to 5000 people who were registered in the category of Japan of our pen pal service and who indicated that they are willing to participate in surveys. We received 343 valid responses from Japanese people who live in Japan; 76% of them were female, 38% were students and 73% were below the age of thirty. In addition to the unbalance in age and gender, we must consider the fact that all survey participants are registered in an online international pen pal service, which may mean that they are overall more internationally and less traditionally oriented than the average Japanese.

Several hideous crimes committed by teenagers have shocked the Japanese public recently: This April, for example, a long-distance bus was hijacked by a 17-year-old boy. He killed one woman during the hijack which came to an end in a spectacular police raid in Hiroshima when policemen stormed the bus. Another especially shocking crime was committed in May 1997 when a 14-year-old school boy decapitated an 11-year-old school boy and placed his head in front of the school gate.

The results of our survey show an overwhelming concern towards the issue. 87.5% consider it to be a big problem, while 11.4% consider it to be a problem. A negligible 1.1% consider it to be a small problem or no problem at all.

In our second question we asked the survey participants who or what they believe to be responsible for the raising number of violent teenager crimes from a given set of possible answers. Most people, namely 87.4% believe parents to carry the main responsibility, followed by the school system (48.7%), television (37.1%), TV games (34.7%) and teachers (30.6%). Interestingly, among the teenagers themselves, the percentage accusing parents is with 58.9% much lower. On the contrary, more teenagers accuse the school system (56.1%) and the teachers (39.7%). Among students, the opinion that TV games are responsible is with 24.1% comparatively low.

The media has a major influence on how people perceive these crimes. That's why our last question asked the survey participants how they found the media coverage concerning the recent teenager crimes. Most popular answer among a given set of possible answers (multiple answers possible) was "too sensational" (27.1%), followed by "balanced" (23.6%) and "not enough news about it" (23.0%). Only 7.0% called the coverage "good" while 16.0% called it "bad".