Reassessing Juvenile Justice in Japan: net widening or diversion?

Tom Ellis, A. Kyo

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Abstract

This article provides a summary of the first comprehensive overview of Japanese youth justice, locating it within wider conceptual considerations of youth justice before outlining its historical development and questioning its uniqueness. It discusses the contested notion of pre-delinquency, its net widening potential, and its place in the wider trends in Japanese youth crime. The study critically assesses the overall organization, administration, and impact of the Family Court (equivalent to youth or juvenile courts) and summarizes recent developments in youth crime policy. The Family Court is the fulcrum of youth justice, but involves many social welfare elements. Despite the increasingly punitive rhetoric, policy, and legislation for juveniles in Japan, there is no evidence that more juvenile offenders are being committed to the adult courts. Overall, we found a clear precedence of social welfare over criminal policy considerations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
Volume15
Issue number9:2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Japan
  • juvenile justice
  • youth justice
  • welfare
  • pre-delinquency
  • police guidance
  • youth crime
  • sentencing
  • penal populism

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