Names of 18 and 19-year-old criminals to no longer be concealed from 2022

By Ingrid Tsai, SoraNews24

From April 2022, the age of majority, or the age one is considered a legal adult, in Japan will lower from 20 to 18. While this leaves the status of important annual rituals such as coming-of-age ceremonies in limbo, the shift will allow younger people a wider range of privileges such as the ability to vote, own a passport, and apply for a credit card.

However, the implications of the shift will also reverberate in another important part of Japanese society: juvenile criminal law.

Recently, the Abe administration has entered a round of inner party discussions over amending a law protecting the privacy of juvenile criminals. In prior years, if the perpetrator of a serious crime was younger than the age of 20, their names as well as photos were censored from mass media. Given the government’s push to lower the age of legal adulthood to 18, it comes to no surprise that the age threshold for withholding a criminal’s name from the news will be lowered as well.

The new policy has received mixed responses from Japanese netizens. Some netizens fully agreed with the amendment, some had questioning comments, and some went full sardonic:

“Big progress. Since they’re lowering the legal age, this is pretty much expected.”

“They should also stop censoring the faces of criminals who are caught in the act by security cameras.”

“To be honest, if there’s really extenuating circumstances, I don’t think names should be revealed at all no matter how old you are.”

“Maybe we should lower it to 16 instead?”

“This is so annoying. Why not just execute all the criminals?”

Several Twitter users have gone as far as suggesting that the age threshold of the amendment be further lowered to age 14. As compulsory education in Japan ends at junior high school, some Japanese netizens believe that high school students should be tried as adults rather than minors.

▼ “We should lower the age threshold to middle school graduates. At that age you already know what’s good or bad. Since leopards can’t change their spots, if you grow to be the type of person to commit crimes, you can never change.”

Screen Shot 2020-07-06 at 10.04.54.png

While whether or not one believes teenagers should be tried as adults is dependent on one’s views on child development and crime. And depending on one’s own individual opinion for the treatment of criminals, the removal of name concealment for criminals aged 18 and 19 may seem either fair or unethical.

In Japan, similar to many other countries, minors are sent to a correctional facility for education and rehabilitation.

Another important topic to consider beyond the concealment of names for juvenile criminals is the vice versa: the concealment of victim names.

One Twitter user, @hime20120111, brings up a salient point that the privacy of victims should be protected by law as well. Currently in Japan, the disclosure of victim names is up to the police, meaning names could be revealed as long as the police deems the disclosure necessary and/or ethical—not particularly the most comforting policy for affected parties or those who are grieving.

▼ “Regardless of the age, I think it’s fine to release the name of criminals. However, setting legal restrictions on the disclosure of names for criminals, but none for the disclosure of victim names, is weird…”

Screen Shot 2020-07-06 at 10.11.53.png

Though there’s no way to tell what would be the consequences of this amendment, we can only wait and observe what will happen in the upcoming years as Japan’s new age threshold for legal adulthood comes into full motion.

Source: Livedoor News via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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About time.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Since leopards can’t change their spots

There was a case which deeply disturbed me, that of Yukio Yamaji who as a minor murdered his mother in 2000 and was then released in 2003 just to rape and murder two young women. He was then sentenced to death and hanged. These laws helped him end two more precious life at an age in which an individual clearly can differentiate between right and wrong.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Long over do!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

What will be the net effect?

Will the law discourage crime? Probably not.

Will the younger 'adults' elect more progressive politicians?


5 ( +5 / -0 )

I also happen to agree with the idea that once kids here leave compulsory education they should be treated in the court system as adults. Seeing as how not 100% of them go on to high school, and many join the work force, they should be treated the same as all other adults.

Drop the "legal" age to 18, fine, but please dont start letting HS kids here start drinking, you are asking for a disaster!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Will the younger 'adults' elect more progressive politicians?

Good question, one of the reasons Abe pushed the voting age drop to 18 was to increase the "pool" of potential LDP voters.

As far too many here dont actually participate in the electoral process, they rely on others to decide who to vote for and are easily influenced as well.

There needs to be better education of young adults in preparing them to understand the system.

(Oh another reason was to get more "bodies" liable to pay into the social welfare system!)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Unfortunately, you can not 'unshrink' the population by simply counting younger people as adults

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Finally growing up?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Will 18 year olds be able to choose which parent to live with if they divorce?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

We should lower the age threshold to middle school graduates. At that age you already know what’s good or bad.

I agree. I think it should be even lower for certain crimes like murder, rape, assault, etc....anything that deems the perp a danger to the public. Petty theft, etc or anything that doesn't really pose a danger should be kept under wraps for minors unless its a repeated offense....2022? why not ASAP...what's the wait for?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Will 18 year olds be able to choose which parent to live with if they divorce?

Good question. This will likely (should) affect how long child support is paid as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Drinking and smoking?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

But, they will still be tried and sentenced in a children’s court. They will Also be sent to a children’s reformatory instead of a prison. Either they are adults or they are not. Splitting it up like this is absolutely absurd!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is so annoying. Why not just execute all the criminals?

What a ridiculous example of online hysteria.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Release the names and faces. How else can we know who to avoid?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

About time ! But why not 2020.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Serious crimes committed by people of any age such as murder, rape or GBH, should all be treated in a same way, as an adult and their names and mugshots published. Offenses such as shoplifting or pickpocketing or similar are minor and offenders sentenced to military style academies to teach discipline and respect, which are obviously missing...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


While they're at it, they should not stop news programs from showing their faces.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Finally! This should have been done years ago. If you can have responsibilities for driving in Japan, then you should be considered an adult. Japan is too lenient on crimes and punishments; especially with junior and senior high school kids committing murders and getting away with murder. For example, the gruesome murder of a high school girl back in 88 in Adachi. They should have been executed or given life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What took them so long to do this? You can't have a kid kill someone or commit a dangerous crime against someone and then just release them back into the public without anyone know who he or she is! I am reminded of that crime where these younger kids beat up this other 14 year old, forced him to strip and swim in a river where they slit his throat. Nobody would want to be siting next to or be associated with those kids involved in that crime because they're weren't seriously punished "because they were under the age"! Probably thrown in juvie, apologized and back out in public without any proper psychiatric evaluation or follow up which could lead to them committing the same or similar crime. So kids, don't do the crime if you can't do the time!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a good move but while they're at it I believe names shouldn't be released in the media until they have actually been found guilty. Too many people have to live with the stigma of getting caught up in a case, when they're completely innocent.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's about time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good. 18 years is enough to face all the music one's deeds deserved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Names of 18 and 19-year-old criminals to no longer be concealed from 2022

If you want to give them obligation like an adult, give them rights as an adult. Those kids still can not buy any liquor and tobaccos but they will be facing as criminal adult.

Japan just won't admit that they have social issues, like single parent that having difficulty in rising their kids, bad neighborhood that consists low income family that can give this kids bad environment to grow up.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Children become full adults at 18.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why not in 2020 .???.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

from 2022

Good! That means anyone under 19 has about a year and a half to go on a major crime spree and not get into too much trouble........

C'mon Japan, do it now! In July 2020. Something that should have been done about a 100 years ago anyway.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Allow this untapped source of energy to show it's talents and abilities early, 18 is a good start. These kids should be allowed to carry on with their lives as adults. Vote, Work, Drive, Pay Taxes, Help their parents, and so on. Enough of this nonsense minor sht.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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