The national level police organizations are the National Police Safety Commission (NPSC) and the National Police Agency (NPA). Since the NPSC makes basic policy and the NPA administers police affairs, the NPSC has control over the NPA.The NPSC is a governmental body responsible mainly for the administrative supervision of the police and coordination of police administration. It also oversees matters relating to police education, communication, criminal identification, criminal statistics and police equipment. To ensure its independence and neutrality, not even the Prime Minister is empowered to direct and give orders to the NPSC.
The mission of the National Police Safety Commission is to guarantee the neutrality of the police by insulating the force from political pressure and to ensure the maintenance of democratic methods in police administration. The commission's primary function is to supervise the National Police Agency, and it has the authority to appoint or dismiss senior police officers. The commission consists of a chairman, who holds the rank of minister of state, and five members appointed by the prime minister with the consent of both houses of the Diet. The commission operates independently of the cabinet, but liaison and coordination with it are facilitated by the chairman's being a member of that body.
Japan's police are an apolitical body under the general supervision of independent agencies, free of direct central government executive control. They are checked by an independent judiciary and monitored by a free and active press. The police are generally well respected and can rely on considerable public cooperation in their work. Officials involved in the criminal justice system are usually highly trained professionals interested in preventing crime and rehabilitating offenders. They are allowed considerable discretion in dealing with legal infractions and appear to deserve the trust and respect accorded to them by the general public.
Conditions of public order compare favorably with those in other industrialized countries. The overall crime rate is low by North American and West European standards and has shown a general decline since the mid-1960s. The incidence of violent crime is especially low, owing in part to effective enforcement of stringent firearms control laws. Problems of particular concern are those associated with a modern industralized nation, including juvenile delinquency, traffic control, and white-collar crime.
Civil disorders occurred beginning in the early 1950s, chiefly in Tokyo, but did not seriously threaten the internal security of the state. Far less frequent after the early 1970s, they were in all cases effectively countered by efficient and well-trained police units employing the most sophisticated techniques of riot control.