Youth justice in Japan

Tom Ellis, A. Kyo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter provides the first comprehensive overview of Japanese youth justice, locating it within wider conceptual considerations of youth justice, such as welfare versus justice and penal populism, before outlining its historical development and questioning its uniqueness. It discusses the contested notion pre-delinquency and 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. Although the Family Court is at the center of youth justice, it 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
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Crime and Criminal Justice Online
EditorsMichael Tonry
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusEarly online - 16 Jan 2017


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