Washington International Law Journal


Jessica Hardung


The Juvenile Law in Japan turned fifty years old on January 1, 1999. Japan enjoys one of the lowest overall crime rates of any industrialized nation, but its juvenile crime rate is on the rise. The rise in juvenile crime has prompted Japanese legislators to propose changes to the Juvenile Law. This Comment argues that the majority of the proposed revisions, which do not focus on rehabilitation, should not be adopted and that social controls already in place are sufficient to combat any increase in juvenile delinquency. Japanese culture has unique characteristics that contribute to its low crime rate. In the United States, the adoption of retributive juvenile justice laws has not stemmed increases in the juvenile crime rate. Japan should not resort to the U.S. model ofjuvenile justice to solve the problem ofjuvenile crime.

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