When it comes to crime, you usually won't hear a lot about it when you're in Japan. But, believe it or not, car theft does exist over there. That's not to knock on Japan's generally safe environment, but the car theft stats did produce an interesting figure.
Per Japan's National Police Agency, the most-stolen car for the first half of the year is the Toyota Land Cruiser. Surprised? Well, not the Japanese authorities as the large SUV was consistently in the top list for years. In fact, almost all the top ten stolen cars in Japan are Toyotas. Then again, Toyota is Japan's best-selling brand.
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Another frequently-stolen model in Japan is the flat-nose Hiace, mainly because it's one of the more popular used offerings there. The smaller Land Cruiser Prado is also in the list, and so is the Prius and the Lexus LX. However, there is also another statistic that's rather alarming.
The National Police Agency also noted a rise in 90's sports car thefts. Models such as the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R, Toyota Supra, Honda NSX, and Mazda RX-7 have become prime targets for car thieves. The spike in thefts can be attributed to other countries craving for these legends for decades, particularly the US. In the US, the 25-year import rule is opening up the market to bring in more of these high-performance models from the '90s.
But back to the newer stolen cars, how are these being driven off by thieves? Authorities say it's all down to the smart keys. More and more hackers are able to bypass the security measure, allowing them to remotely unlock the car and replicate a code for it to be started. Smart key hacking isn't just a problem in Japan, as cases around Europe and North America have been on the rise as well.
So, how to prevent these? It always pays to have a secure garage at home or to look for a safe parking space in public. And if thieves are that determind to get your car, comprehensive insurance will be your greatest ally should the worst happen.