By JESSICA WARE FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 16:08 GMT, 28 March 2016 | UPDATED: 18:05 GMT, 28 March 2016
The number of elderly Japanese people turning to crime so that they can live for free in prison is soaring, according to a new study.
Around 35 per cent of shoplifting offences in Japan are carried out by people over the age of 60, crime figures show. This has risen from 20.4 per cent in 2005.
And these offences are often not isolated occurrences, as around 40 per cent of over-sixties who do re-offend have done so more than six times.
While there are special work programmes (pictured) for elderly Japanese people, many do not work and have little money to live off, so are turning to crime in the hope of being jailed
According to the Financial Times, a major factor driving the geriatric crime wave is old-age poverty.
And while there are special work programmes for elderly Japanese people, many do not work and have little money to live off.
A typical Japanese senior with low savings is living off £4,800 each year, according to a study on the economics of elderly crime by Michael Newman of Tokyo-based research house Custom Products Research.
'Hugging one's grandchildren is surely a better option than talking to them through a glass window. If you are in prison you are supposed to be old when you leave not when you enter it. Not so in Japan,' the study says.