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Crime is rising in Japan. The number of elderly people committing crimes has been going up every year. 20 years ago, 5% of crimes in Japan were committed by elderly people. Last year, 20% of the crimes committed in Japan were done by elderly people.

Crime is very low in Japan. People are confused about why so many old people are committing crimes. A reporter for the BBC wanted to find out why this was happening.

He interviewed some old Japanese people. They had all been to jail recently. They said that going to jail was better than being free. In jail, they don’t need to pay for food or a home. They don’t have enough money to pay for those things outside of jail. They want to go to jail so they can save money and live for free.

Difficult words

Elderly: Old or aging.

Committing: To do or carry out something.

Confused: Unable to think clearly, not understand.

Reporter: A person whose job it is to write or talk about news.

Interviewed: To be asked questions about yourself for an audience.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: 

American English:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Elderly A. Doing
 2. Committing B. Baffle
 3. Confused C. Meeting
 4. Reporter D. Old
 5. Interviewed E. Writer

True or False?

1. Crime is becoming lower in Japan. T / F

2. Older people are committing more crimes. T / F

3.  People are confused about why old people are committing crimes. T / F

4.  A detective wanted to find out why this is happening. T / F

5. It is free to be in jail. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. in / Japan / Crime / is / rising

2. is / low / in / Crime / Japan / very

3. old / He / some / Japanese / people / interviewed

4. want / to / jail / to / go / They

5. have / money / don’t / They / enough

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English:

Year Free Rising
Confused Elderly Jail

Crime is __________ in Japan. The number of elderly people committing crimes has been going up every year. 20 years ago, 5% of crimes in Japan were committed by elderly people. Last _______, 20% of the crimes committed in Japan were done by __________ people.

Crime is very low in Japan. People are ____________ about why so many old people are committing crimes. A reporter for the BBC wanted to find out why this was happening.

He interviewed some old Japanese people. They had all been to jail recently. They said that going to jail was better than being __________. In jail, they don’t need to pay for food or a home. They don’t have enough money to pay for those things outside of jail. They want to go to _________ so they can save money and live for free.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. How are elderly people treated in your country?
4. Do children traditionally take care of parents in your country?
5. Are retirement homes popular in your country?
6. Do you have a plan for your retirement?
7.  What is the retirement age in your country?
8. What is the crime rate like in your country?
9. What age group do you think commits the most crimes in your country?
10. Is shoplifting a serious crime in your country?
11. Is your country tough on crime?
12. Does your country have a good pension system?
13. What do you think about the old people who want to go to jail?
14. Do people in your country have to travel far to find work?
15.Is it wrong for old people to commit crimes so they can live for free?
16. Should prison be made worse to stop people from wanting to go there?
17. What are prison conditions like in your country?
18. What do you think the Japanese government should do for these people?
19. What would you like to do when you are retired?
20. Would you like to ask any of these old people any questions?