The website Quora, (a post by Jack Weida), gives some interesting examples on how Japan is considered a safe place compared to other countries that are viewed as stable or economically blessed like the United States.
Yakuza- There are crimes in Japan like all other countries, but Japan is different from America. For example, it's organized crime groups or gangs such as the Yakuza are unwilling to go out and attack or rob regular lawful civilians. Instead, they cause intended harm towards other rival Yakuza clans separate from their own. Often to none, these occurrences do not physically affect the surrounding community. With 53,000 people working for the Yakuza's 3 major groups, these black market businesses hold legitimate occupations such as leading humanitarian groups. Generally, the bottom line is that Yakuza do not rob you from your wallet or any belongings. Being a model citizen, they will leave you alone if you leave them alone.
One story I heard from my friend who was living in Japan, was about a time when a Yakuza, who was driving a car, bumped into my mates car that left an obvious dent. My friend, not being at fault, was confronted by the Yakuza personnel wearing a nice looking suit who came out of his car and threw an envelope of generous amount of money onto his window. The criminal personnel in the suit told my friend, "Don't rat us out to the police", after the one-way transaction of the cash-filled envelope was completed. This was an episode where my friend received money from an organized crime group to emphasize that they do not rob regular rule obeying citizens, but they might even do the opposite in extremely rare cases.
Cultural Difference- There was a vending machine at my old high school in Torrance, CA. The vending machine was for some reason broken into numerous times despite the metal fortress it was cocooned in. Differently in Japan, there are vending machines everywhere. In general, these vending machines do not reinforce themselves with metal caging to protect itself from non-law obeying citizens, but citizens or people in Japan seen as mischievous usually do not create openings into vending machines to take what is inside.
This can be because of the cultural shame that any crime has onto the Japanese people and it's people who are affected.
I heard news that a person had committed suicide inside a jail cell in Japan by hanging himself because he was caught with an act seen as despicable towards society that puts tremendous feelings of shame onto the perpetrator. Public shaming is also very strong in Japan. This deeply rooted guilty feeling that people are accompanied with is the reason why people are far less susceptible to committing unlawful acts like breaking into vending machines in the country with many vending machines of all sorts.
The origin of cultural shame can be said that Japanese people had to get along with one another due to the geography of Japan being mainly mountainous. People had to live in packed areas where people were more likely to evolve or adapt into getting along with one another. I personally believe or see a possibility that the leaders of Japan were moral role models like former prime minister Toshiki Kaifu, who kept the legacy of Japan's military as a self-defense force and no further, despite people with different beliefs who were against him. The former prime minister kept Japan as a military force staying within its boundaries as it was able to keep its peace during that time, up until now and hopefully til the end of time. The harmonious predecessors' virtuous living may have passed an ethical touch onto the people of today. Their kind and honorable living may have influenced the relatively safe and kind service-filled state we now see in present-day Japan.
During the Samurai era, if a dangerous samurai thought that a certain person was being distasteful towards them, the samurai would slice that person's neck quickly without hesitation when worse comes to worse. Perhaps it was this tension that people had to be kind in order to survive, but also I feel as though people, given a safe and well environment, act kind simply because it makes them feel good about themselves. It may be likely that Japan's safe environment makes it possible to bring out the goodness in humanity. In that way, people may find honor in a kind ethical living.
Strong force on Crime Prevention- Japan did not or even does not let certain celebrities into their country due to their past affiliation with illegal drugs. Some celebrities, like Paris Hilton, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney have been denied access to Japan for their drug charges of the past.
Existence of Koban- Kobans are miniature versions of police stations compared to that of the USA where these Japanese mini-police stations are built throughout cities and neighborhoods. Kobans are placed and spread-out strategically by placing them in each neighborhoods to encourage people to report crimes and return lost wallets. Also, in case of when your safety is of concern, you would have a safe place to go to if it feels right to go to the local Koban in your neighborhood.
Lenient Rules upon Zoning- Zoning is the regulation that describes whether you can hold a certain business such as a convenience store at a certain area. For example, the rules concerning zoning can be applied if the business itself would cause a lot of noise and trouble the neighboring homes. In Japan, zoning rules are not as strict as America and it is common to find convenience stores next to houses. One reason of this being that it raises the chance for more attention to suspicious activity if any in the neighboring convenience store to diminish overall crime rate.
Limited Immigration Policy- Japan has minimal immigration, and one of the reasons is for the cautious approach to strategically maintain its level of peace in its country. As of mid September 2016, the publicly infamous terrorist group the ISIS, has not placed an attack on to Japan. Perhaps it has to do with it's limited immigration policy and the public's view on foreign religion.
ATMs in Japan- Unlike, America's ATMs you see on the streets, ATMs in Japan are much more secure from currency and information theft. You would not see an ATM in Japan at an outside location because all of them are located in banks or closed-door facilities.
Japan is safe because its people are generally safe and I believe people usually have an honorable work ethic even for minimum wage jobs. Meaning, service quality is influenced by work ethic and I find Japan as a very clean and organized place like many other countries.
There are also precautions regarding the preservation of the country's safety. For instance, there are people in Japan who stream live video of themselves for a living by traveling, talking and interacting with other people by reading live comments etc. This particular video I saw on Youtube was not a live-stream, but it portrayed a person live-streaming at a certain time. The person's user live stream name was Noriyuki Ishikawa. This Youtube video that I watched was a pre-recording of a live-streaming video and someone viewing the streaming had claimed false reports (most likely a viewer who is a fan) that this particular live-streamer was filming people in public etc. The live-streamer may have accidentally filmed a restaurant worker. So then, the live-streamer viewer called the restaurant, and made the worker there very angry. Which then, the employer called the police.
Being surrounded by 7 police officers for internet live-streaming inside of a restaurant, the internet live-streamer questioned one of the police officers. The streaming individual asked the person in uniform that shouldn't a police officer be on the look out for more harmful individuals because the police was patrolling the streamer for live-streaming and not filming people intentionally but himself. The police officer replied by saying that we need to do what we can with minor issues, so those certain acts do not lead to or motivate people to initiate more problematic ones.
When I heard what the police officer had said, I thought how peaceful and cautious Japanese police were towards crimes and keeping even minor unlawful acts to a hold and security at its best.