In United Nations surveys Japan almost always ranks at the very bottom on crime victimization, robbery, and theft. In other words, the rate of these crimes is higher in every other country of the world. There have been slight increases recently in the crime rate, but..
Japan is still one of the safest places in the world, and it would be nice if people would realize it and enjoy living here without worrying about dangers that will probably never affect them. (See Dangerous Times in the Safety Country)
Osaka remains one of the safest cities on earth for travelers. Gun crimes are rare in Japan. CNN (May 17th, 2007) reported that in 2006 there were 53 shootings in all of Japan-- including 36 gang-related. 2 resulted in deaths. When they happen, the entire country is shocked. Street theft and personal assault are not a problem. Osakans take pride in their honesty and consider it part of their civic responsibility. Exercise the usual precautions and your visit should be untroubled. Remember: you are in another country with a different set of social rules and regulations. (See Safety in Osaka in the Studying in Japan Guide at http://www.goabroad.com)
Although OGSHS has now been welcoming international students for over twelve years with only one serious, safety-related incident, the personal safety and emotional well-being of all our students remain our top priority.
Important: OGSHS can not emphasize enough that our students must be constantly mindful of their surroundings as they travel in public throughout their ENTIRE stay in Japan. Potential students--although showing fine academic promise-- who are not mature enough to master this basic, urban survival skill and/or have shown poor, personal safety judgment in the past, are strongly encouraged NOT to apply. Regrettably, our international students do stand out and may be targeted for abuse. Recognizing this fact, some parent(s) have enrolled their daughters in basic, self defense and/or "Personal Safety Awareness" lessons prior to their departure for Osaka.
Obtaining a cell phone is tricky. It's both costly and complicated with ever-changing requirements. You'll need a "guarantor" to insure all bills are paid even after leaving Japan. Host families and OGSHS have tried this in the past. Regrettably, payment delays/confusion have caused hurt feelings all around. Students have, however, been successful by setting up a contract BEFORE leaving for Osaka while others have used "Skype" at internet cafes and/or international phone cards available at convenient stores.
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