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The number of elderly people committing crimes in Japan 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 by elderly people. People are confused about why so many old people are committing crimes. Especially because crime, in general, is very low in Japan.

A reporter for the BBC wanted to find out why this was happening. So, he went to Japan and interviewed some of the elderly people who had been to jail.

He wanted to know why they started to commit crimes after they retired. They had not committed crimes earlier in their lives. The old people 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 said that the pension in Japan was too low. They could not afford to buy the basic things that they need to live.

One pensioner said he ran out of money shortly after reaching pension age. He then decided to steal a bike and ride it to the police station so he could live for free in jail. While he is in jail he still gets his pension but he does not have to pay for anything while he is there. This means when he leaves jail, he can live more comfortably than normal. He has spent 4 of the last 8 years in jail.

Difficult words

Elderly: Old or aging.

Committing: To do or carry out something.

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

Retired: To finish working forever.

Pension: Money that you get from the government when you are a certain age.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: 

American English:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Elderly  A. Doing
 2. Committing  B. Finished
 3.  Reporter  C. Payment
 4. Retired  D. Journalist
 5. Pension  E.  Old

True or False?

1.  Elderly crimes have been decreasing in Japan.  T / F

2.  Many people are confused about why older people are committing crimes. T / F

3. A reporter went to China to find out why the crimes are happening. T / F

4.   People have to pay some money to stay in jail. T / F

5. A man stole a bike to go to jail. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. confused / about / are / People / why

2. to / food / for / need / pay / they / jail, / don’t / In

3. earlier / They / committed / not / crimes / had

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

5. said / ran / money / he / One / of / out / pensioner

Listening and Vocabulary

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

British English:

American English: 

Interview People Reaching
Leaves Outside Confused

The number of elderly ___________ committing crimes in Japan 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 by elderly people. People are ___________ about why so many old people are committing crimes. Especially because crime, in general, is very low in Japan.

A reporter for the BBC wanted to find out why this was happening. So, he went to Japan and _______________  some of the elderly people who had been to jail.

He wanted to know why they started to commit crimes after they retired. They had not committed crimes earlier in their lives. The old people 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 ____________ of jail. They said that the pension in Japan was too low. They could not afford to buy the basic things that they need to live.

One pensioner said he ran out of money shortly after _____________ pension age. He then decided to steal a bike and ride it to the police station so he could live for free in jail. While he is in jail he still gets his pension but he does not have to pay for anything while he is there. This means when he ___________ jail, he can live more comfortably than normal. He has spent 4 of the last 8 years in jail.

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?