This paper compares how Japan and England deal with the problem of juvenile offending. It contrasts English youth justice, which has recently moved towards centralized control and low local visibility, with Japanese youth justice, which is characterized by the integration of law enforcement with informal social control and a strong emphasis on local visibility. The relative success of the Japanese system seems to be evidenced by the low numbers of young people in custody compared to the English system. The analysis looks at changes over the last 10 years and takes account of the recent triple track approach announced by the English Youth Justice Board in mid-2008, which could lead to an approach that is more in line with the Japanese model. The paper ends with a call for more systematic comparative research to promote both understanding and possibilities for change in both countries.