* It was interesting to Read “American Inmate Takes On Harsh Japanese Prison System” (Dec. 25). I have just returned from living in Japan for three years.
It is unfortunate that the article did not state exactly how long Johnny Crittenden had lived in Japan before committing his undisclosed crime. Everyone living in Japan knows of the harsh penalties and harsh prison environment that await after you are convicted of committing a crime. Everyone also knows how safe it is there. In the prefecture where we lived there was little crime. You could walk anywhere at night without fear of being robbed or attacked. You could leave your keys in your car and your house unlocked.
I am not a social scientist, so I cannot attest to whether harsh penalties have an effect on the lack of criminal activity. It may be that in the Japanese culture when one committed a crime, it directly reflects on one’s family. When you break the law, your parents are breaking the law. You have disgraced your family. Unlike here, where if your parents weren’t perfect, that is the reason one has committed a crime.
BEVERLY L. HANES-SIMON