© Asian Studies Association of Australia - Web Design, investigate and prosecute such minor crimes, Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory, Juveniles arrested (% of the number in 2007), Juveniles arrested for the first time (% of the number in 2007), Juveniles arrested who have already been convicted of an earlier offence (repeat offenders) (% of the number in 2007), Japanese population aged between 14 and 19 (% of the number in 2007). YO: Thank you. The number of juveniles suspected of involvement in serious offenses — murder, burglary, arson and rape — fell from 1,441 in 2005 to 703 last year. Interestingly, the number of serious offences has also been decreasing, despite the community’s perception and media reporting. The Juvenile Law was revised in 2001 to impose harsher punishment on juvenile offenders. The Family Court dealt with approximately 107,000 cases in 2014, which was the lowest number in three decades and half the figure compared to seven years ago. These groups, … Recorded Juvenile Offences. AOMORI A 16-year-old boy who was arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing his 49-year-old father at their home in Tsugaru City, Aomori Prefecture, in September, has been found mentally fit after two months of psychiatric evaluation and will be sent to a juvenile court. It has broken from Chinese law and seeks new models from the West. KUZUNO Hiroyuki♯ Summary In Japan, the police and the public prosecutor must send all juvenile cases to the Family Court. YO: The National Police Agency and Ministry of Justice collect statistics on criminal justice in Japan. and diversion by the local police. Seventy per cent of offences overall relate to theft, and the rate of serious crime is low overall. According to the Juvenile Law of Japan, “Persons under 20 years of age are classified as juveniles and subject to special procedure” “Juvenile Criminal is a person who is 14-20 years old who committed a crime” (article 3, Paragraph 1, item 1, of the Juvenile Law) (Article 3, Paragraph 1, item 2 of the Juvenile Act) • Juvenile crime is characteristic by the relatively young age of most those involved. Under a 2014 revision, the upper limit of imprisonment for a definite term for a minor 17 years of age or younger was raised from 15 years to 20 years. It functions as social casework and works practically as diversion. YO: Yes. Keywords:Child welfare, juvenile delinquency, juvenile justice, mental health, pervasive developmental disorder, system of care. According to a National Police Agency report on juvenile delinquency, the annual number of minors treated as criminal suspects by the police dropped from 123,715 in 2005 to 48,361 in 2014. I think that the high rate of minor cases dealt with by the Family Court also reflects our jurisdictional rules. Citing juvenile delinquency cases reported in a major national newspaper in Japan, this study analyzes to what extent the community reacted to the delinquency upon its commission. SS: It sounds like there are many reasons for the declining rate of young offenders in Japan …. In comparison, the mean scores in America are from 16.30 to 33.73 according to North American studies. SS: During my research for an article about increasing elderly crime in Japan, I found that the increase in elderly offending was not proportional to the increasing number of Japanese elderly. This interview reflects the personal opinions of the interviewer and interviewee. In recent times, examples of a relatively few horrific juvenile-perpetrated offenses have led to a misperception of an increase in offending and a public interest in more punitive responses for youth … Policing polices can have an effect on offending rates. In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.By subscribing, you can help us get the story right. But in discussing the issue the panel’s members need to understand the basic aim of the Juvenile Law — which was introduced in 1948 — which is to help minors attain healthy growth and to take protective measures for juvenile delinquents to rectify their personality and adjust the environment they are in. In fiscal year 2019, the Office awarded more than $323 million to support state, local, and tribal efforts to deter delinquency and safeguard children. In an interview with Ms Yoshiko Ohmachi, a Family Court probation officer for the Supreme Court of Japan, Stacey Steele explores the reasons behind the decline. SS: What has been the impact of declining offending on the Family Court? (JDH) As Figure 3 shows, cleared offences in Japan decreased 9% overall from 330,126 in 2000, to 301,331 in 2012. Once a juvenile is charged, the investigating authority doesn’t have discretion to defer prosecution or not to proceed with prosecution. I’m sometimes disappointed by the attitude of the juvenile offenders’ parents, but it’s my role to help them and their children to understand each other for the benefit of the child. But in line with the trend for harsher treatment and punishment for minor offenders in recent years, the proceedings are becoming more like criminal trials with attention mostly focusing on the criminal acts committed, the motives and the consequences. While heinous crimes committed by minors grab society’s attention, the number of minors involved in criminal cases is steadily declining. The juvenile justice system in Japan has reached a new stage since the latter half of the 19th century. Juvenile offences in Japan are decreasing dramatically, despite public perceptions to the contrary. Japanese adult criminal statistics of the execution of the jurisdiction are highly changeable or repeatedly fluctuate according to the characteristics of the regime. Public opinion drove amendments to the Juvenile Act in 2000 and 2007 which made it more punitive. In the United States where juvenile crime is also on the decline, for example, the reasons and consequences are also debated. Members of the panel should not make hasty decisions, but instead carefully weigh related issues, since lowering the maximum age of minors covered by the Juvenile Law will have repercussions in a wide range of areas, including criminal trial of minors, the police’s control of juvenile delinquents and child welfare. It is possible that the contemporary atmosphere of less tolerance might lead some young people to exercise more self-control. The original purpose of family court proceedings for juvenile offenders was to decide whether they should be placed on probation or sent to correctional or welfare facilities— instead of being handed criminal punishments — by taking into account their family background, life history and the possibility of rehabilitation. Therefore there does not appear to be a pressing need to lower the maximum age of minors to which the Juvenile Law is applied, which would expand the scope of youths subject to criminal punishment. The mean score for young people who were sent to a detention centre in Japan is 10.75 out of 42. Savage visited Japan as part of her research comparing juvenile justice in that famously low-crime nation and the United States. Overall, recorded youth crime in Japan has plummeted! Statements do not represent the views or policies of our employers, past or present, or any other organisation with which we are affiliated. The Japan Times LTD. All rights reserved. The reason is that the criminal justice agencies, (i.e. However, juvenile criminal statistics have been relatively stable because juvenile justice system is different from that of adult. This trend is expected to continue with the shrinking of the youth population due to the nation’s low fertility rate. According to Japanese law, the term "shonen" refers to "a person from the time they enter elementary school until the time they are 15 years of age", and "Any person who has not reached the age of 15 years" (Juvenile Law (少年法, Shonen Hō), Article 2.1). While the term "shonen" can refer to both young males and young females, the generally accepted term for young females is shōjo. Ore ore sagi is a relatively new crime that has dramatically increased. Over the last decade, juvenile crime has become a serious social problem in Japan. Accordingly, currently in Japan the risk level of the average young offender itself is not so high and is perhaps reflected in the high number of minor crimes committed by young people in Japan. 88.8 Ranked 1st. If this is the case, genbatsuka may be one of the reasons that the rate of decline in reoffending is less than the rate of decline in juveniles committing a first offence. YO: I have heard some people argue that the decreasing number of young offenders is just because of the decreasing number of younger people in Japan. Japan’s juvenile justice system reflects a western parens patriae-type orientation with an emphasis on rehabilitation, protection, and the overall well-being of the accused child. Is that really the case? But the statistics don’t support this view. SS: Finally and on a personal note, what is the biggest challenge in your role as a Family Court probation officer from your perspective? Juvenile delinquency in Japan is examined with respect to Japanese culture. But the law still retains a provision that if a minor who was in that age category at the time of the crime is convicted of an offense that would be considered a capital crime for an adult offender, the minor should be given life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. Stacey Steele is Associate Director (Japan) at the Asian Law Centre and associate professor at the Melbourne Law School. The LDP panel should take time to study, for example, the situation of juvenile delinquencies and crimes, efforts made and measures taken at juvenile reformatories and other supportive institutions, and what schools and communities are doing to help juvenile delinquents. SS: Given that a large number of the cases in the Family Court relate to minor offences such as shoplifting and bicycle theft, could the decline in juvenile cases relate to reluctance by police to prosecute offenders for such minor offences? In addition to the profile of juvenile recorded crime just described, there are currently some developments in juvenile offending that appear specifically Japanese. Japanese words for juvenile include 少年, 幼若, 児童 and 若年型. More lenient than the penal institutions, these facilities provide correctional education and regular schooling for delinquents under the age of twenty. Find more Japanese words at wordhippo.com! Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report. Keywords: Japan, youth justice, juvenile justice, welfare, pre-delinquency, police guidance, youth crime, sentencing, penal populism. Current problems of juvenile delinquency in Japan. Juvenile delinquency the definition under the criminal law it generally refers to behavior which shall be subject to criminal penalties for people age under 18 being implemented. Real Crime? “There is a more integrated, and what you might call relaxed, approach in Japan,” said Savage. So-called ‘initial crime’ (shohatsu gata hikō or 初発型非行) such as shoplifting and vehicle theft, which is said to be a gateway into further criminal behavior, declined by 60 per cent from 2007 to 2014; its rate of decline was the fastest compared to any other type of crime. YO: It’s a complicated situation, but actually juvenile offending is decreasing. YO: To be honest, I find dealing with parents the most challenging part of my role. Focuses on the social causes of delinquency, family factors shaping juvenile crimes and mistakes, criminal peer groups, psychological factors related to delinquency, and the role of education in prevention of delinquency. Of the cases sent to the Family Court in 2014, the most common offense was still theft (about 42,000 cases), mostly involving shoplifting or bicycle theft. The number of juveniles suspected of involvement in serious offenses — murder, burglary, arson and rape — fell from 1,441 in 2005 to 703 … The scope of cases for juvenile proceedings at family courts in which public prosecutors are allowed to be present has also been expanded. Juvenile Delinquency is a crime categorize mainly based on age. Laredo police received a complaint regarding an alleged act of animal cruelty. A special panel of the Liberal Democratic Party has begun discussing whether the maximum age of minors to which the Juvenile Law is applied should be lowered to 17 from the current 19 — in line with the change in the minimum voting age from 20 to 18 sought in the proposed revision to the Public Offices Election Law. Juvenile justice in France is somewhat different from that in other countries; one judge deals exclusively with children in civil matters and with juvenile delinquents in criminal matters. Juvenile Delinquency in Japan, written by leading Japanese and German scholars, for the first time looks comprehensively into the phenomenon. Discussions over the Juvenile Law do not need to keep pace with the proceedings on the amendment to the election law, which has been jointly submitted to the Diet by the LDP-led ruling coalition and several opposition parties, and is likely to be enacted in the current Diet session. This neglect has contributed to … A 2007 revision lowered the minimum age of minors who can be sent to juvenile reformatories from 14 to around 12. Steele (left) with Yoshiko Ohmachi and Prof. Alison Young, Director of the Masters of Criminology Program, University of Melbourne. Only 2.5 per cent of respondents answered correctly: that is, the number of young offenders in Japan is actually decreasing. Why do you think people have the impression that juvenile crime is getting worse, when the statistics show that’s not the case? Is that really the case? This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Heinous crimes committed by minors have triggered calls for changing the Juvenile Law so that more of them should be criminally prosecuted in the same manner as adults. And Japan is not alone in facing these issues. I’m grateful to institutions such as the Australian National University, Melbourne Law School, the Family Court of Australia, Youth Justice and Relationships Victoria for their hospitality and intellectual exchange. Although a few juvenile offenders are handled under the general penal system, most are treated in separate juvenile training schools. Juvenile delinquency is an increasingly common social problem facing the U.S currently. YO: We’re also seeing fewer juvenile cases. Ms Yoshiko Ohmachi is a visiting research scholar at the Australian National University. Unfortunately, however, 78.6 per cent of respondents answered that the number of young offenders is increasing, according to a Japanese Cabinet Office survey in 2015. If you're not sure how to activate it, please refer to this site. SS: Ohmachi san, thank you for visiting the Melbourne Law School during your time as a visiting research scholar at the Australian National University. This revision makes it possible to impose criminal punishment on 14- and 15-year-old criminal offenders, while those offenders aged 16–19 have always faced criminal punishment, both before and after the revision. Topical Developments in Juvenile Crime in Japan. Featured image SS: So, what do the statistics tell us about decreasing juvenile offending in Japan? Minors age 16 and older who are suspected of having committed serious crimes also can now be directly turned over to prosecutors to face regular criminal trials, skipping proceedings at family courts. OJJDP-Produced, July 2020. It seems that society is less tolerant of a young person’s mistakes these days. The second and third most common type of offences related to traffic violations and negligent driving. The number of young people aged between 14 and 19 years old in Japan declined by 4 per cent during that period, but the number of first-time young offenders decreased by 56 per cent and the number of second-time offenders decreased by 46 per cent. The mean score of the category of substance abuse in the Japanese survey was also quite low at 0.07. YO: Well, one of the reasons may be the sensational media coverage of a few, but shocking, crimes. Japan’s overall crime rate has been low. In 2001, the minimum age of minors who can be given criminal punishments was lowered from 16 to 14. I’ve read that because a large amount of young person offences are minor like shoplifting and bicycle theft, the level of offending is affected by how hard police investigate and prosecute such minor crimes. YO: It’s a complicated situation, but actually juvenile offending is decreasing. In the realm of education and culture, this is the period of compulsory education. If we exclude traffic offences and certain special criminal statutes, only 0.68 per … Google Scholar. Recultured podcast, Directory of who’s who in the world of business in Japan. Contains nine articles which describe the causes and treatment of juvenile delinquency in China. 広告出稿に関するおといあわせはこちらまで. Contrary to popular belief, the number of juvenile offenders and cases in Japan has decreased significantly in recent years. Members of the LDP panel need to consider whether it is wise to deprive a certain segment of young offenders of the opportunity to receive education aimed at rehabilitation as provided by the Juvenile Law by lowering the maximum age of minors. Remarkably little study has focused on the causative forces behind juvenile crime in Japan in an age of rapid economic growth Japan has a system that involves both child welfare and juvenile … Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 17, 209-229. 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