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crime

Justice Ministry proposes harsher sentences for minors

30 Comments

A Justice Ministry commission of inquiry is preparing a draft bill to change the law to toughen penalties for minors convicted of crimes.

In response to growing public outrage over crimes committed by minors, the commission was tasked with considering whether crimes which result in life sentences for adults should also warrant similar sentences for minors, Fuji TV reported. It has proposed raising the maximum juvenile sentence from 15 to 20 years.

The ministry is planning to approve the amendments and draft a reform bill before the end of the current Diet session, Fuji reported.

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30 Comments
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I actually hope this passes.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

How about making more appropriate sentences to fit the crime too. It wasn't that long ago a man who pinched 1yen from a Shrine got 1 year in jail, around that time some guy bashed his wife's face in and got 1 year in jail. (I think I am remembering the stories correctly). Increasing the penalty may deter a few who actually know about it, instead, why put more effort into stopping the cause of their bad behavior via more counselors and education on standard morals.

10 ( +9 / -0 )

Reduce the age of adulthood to 18 years.

16 ( +14 / -0 )

Dooo EEEETT!!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Reduce the age of adulthood to 18 years.

I am on the fence with this one. For purposes of crimes committed at that age, and the potential for adult sentencing I would agree. However for drinking? No thanks, I dont want to see HS kids drinking and driving at 18 here.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

People can drive "ordinary cars" from 18 years as well as full powered motor bikes, which in the eyes of most would be considered more dangerous than cars.

Reducing the drinking age to 18 years probably wouldn't increase the level of alcohol consumption.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lets learn from the US example shall we? Increased penalties have done nothing to improve the crime situation. And certainly not to deter young crime.

The problem is not the penalty. It is a distraction governments use to appear to be addressing problems. When in reality, unless you solve the social and economic dysfunctions that are at the roots of crime, then crime carries on regardless of the penalties. This is simple reality.

So what Japan should be doing is asking why crime is on the rise with these juveniles and working to address the root problems. For example, the disconnection between reality and fantasy worlds that many assailants in Japan site. They see rape or murder in a game, manga or something else and then want to try it. Are any of you really naive enough to think that someone making that leap from fantasy to reality is going to care about penalties? In fantasy the bad guy often gets away or is powerful. What reason do we have to think that the criminal kid does not buy into that part of the fantasy as much as the desire to cause harm?

So penalties will just cost us more money and will not decrease crime. Dealing with the problems that cause crime will help. And only that.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Reducing the drinking age to 18 years probably wouldn't increase the level of alcohol consumption.

You have to be living in a box to think that dropping it to 18 wouldnt increase alcohol consumption.

Learn from the mistakes of other country's like the US when their age went down to 18 the slaughter on the roads was sickening to say the least.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In fantasy the bad guy often gets away or is powerful.

In fantasy (games etc) it's the good guy (the player) who gets to kill, destroy, cause mayhem - and that's what wins the game. It's the blurring of the line between good and bad that's the problem, not the obvious 'bad guy' getting away. That's assuming violent games, TV, etc., do cause crime, and I'm not totally convinced that they do, except in a minority who are already susceptible to what we used to call 'bad influences'. But for those susceptible ones, and ordinary kids with no responsible guidance, yes, dealing with the problem is more important and more effective than waiting for a kid to do wrong then locking him up for a long time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Yubaru

Less younger people drink than older people. You can buy alcohol from vending machines up to 11 PM without needing any age ID. Becoming an adult also means taking full responsbility to be treated has an adult, and therefore punished as one if a crime is committed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yubaru. I do agree that learning from the US is good. But I have to say that the alcohol situation in Japan is entirely different.

In the US, getting alcohol while underage is quite a task. Plus our law enforcement of alcohol is substantial. You cannot drink on the streets, if you look like you may have alcohol you will be stopped, if you are drunk you will go to jail. And more.

In Japan I see low teens falling down drunk all the time. Police do nothing. But what is really important is what it says about alcohol in Japan. If you are under 20 alcohol is still VERY easy to get in Japan. The police will most likely not stop you. And you can carry on with alcohol at any age really.

So what does this mean? It means that you are unlikely to see a significant spike in problems if alcohol age limits drop here. 18 year olds who want alcohol in japan already have it. And there are little if any consequences for doing so. I think you are unlikely to see any real change.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Yubaru,

I think all driving schools should have a very heavy lesson about what happens when people drink and drive, including full graphics.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Serve the little punks right!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good idea. I am for it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Raise the drinking age! I for one wouldn't want to foot the bill for keeping teens in jail half of their life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

About time...do it today...do it NOW!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm for it!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's about time-- especially for murder and attempted murder.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think the bigger thing is that maybe, maybe, it will get some of these juvenile 18 year old's to think before they act. Now for minor offenses they know, they all know, they they will be treated as children because they are underage. They also know that their offenses will disappear when they become of age here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fair enough; and please drastically increase the punishment for adults who beat, abuse and kill children.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Harsher sentences for heinous crimes is a good thing, but a better thing would be dropping the idea that someone who is 19 years and 8 months old doesn't know what they are doing because they are not an adult yet. Ie. drop the age people ARE (not CAN be) tried as adults from 20 to 18, and keep the option open for them to be charged as adults at younger ages if the crimes warrant.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Uh oh. This is just bringing Japan another step closer to a Battle Royale-style free-for-all bloodbath to punish bad kids.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

this is the 3rd time i've heard this...so when is it happening really

3 ( +3 / -0 )

smithinjapanFeb. 10, 2013 - 06:23PM JST

Harsher sentences for heinous crimes is a good thing, but a better thing would be dropping the idea that someone who is 19 years and 8 months old doesn't know what they are doing because they are not an adult yet. Ie. drop the age people ARE (not CAN be) tried as adults from 20 to 18, and keep the option open for them to be charged as adults at younger ages if the crimes warrant

Yup, fixed limits are pointless and only suggested by those with no real care as to the welfare of young adults. They really do need flexible options in arrest and punishment, allowing full adult charges if the crime warrants it. Sending children to jail for littering or similar pointless offenses shouldn't be used, but triple homicides should mean life in jail at minimum.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

From 15 years to 20 years? I cannot imagine how this would help. To an 18 year old it would make their age at release 38 instead of 33... both are unreal ages to an 18 year old, plus I put it to all of you that if you cannot reform someone in 15 years then how can you hope to reform them in 20 years? ... and if the goal is not reform then you've just put someone out on the streets again at age 38 (instead of 33)... still able-bodied enough to commit any crime I can think of again.

This is just idiocy, designed to placate a short-sighted public who don't actually think about what prisons are for, and all it'll do is create more crowding in prisons and cost the taxpayer more.

Instead what we need is faster justice and faster punishment. If a young adult crashes a car or shoplifts, then is held in custody for 3 months before trial, then tried for another 2 months... well, by that point it's nearly half a year and they can barely remember the crime. Instead haul kids up before a judge the moment they're arrested, then sentence them to a humiliating punishment like going to schools to talk about their crime in front of kids their own age during the afternoons, with their mornings being taken up with mandatory ethics and law classes, and their evenings occupied with community service like changing bedpans at an old-age home. After a couple of years of that you'll have them swearing to never touch liquor or steal again, and they never will do it again. You have reform at very little cost to the taxpayer, and great benefit to society.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

YubaruFEB. 10, 2013 - 05:39PM JST

maybe, it will get some of these juvenile 18 year old's to think before they act.

That's never worked in the past across cultures. The penalty for pickpocketing in 17th century England? Death. And where did pickpockets congregate to pick pockets? At the public hanging for pickpockets. How many Americans don't do cocaine ONLY because it's illegal? Probably zero.

Most juvenile crimes aren't long, thought-out master plans. They're spur-of-the-moment acts or crimes of passion. However, I agree that an 18 or even a 17 and a half year old should be tried as an adult if the crime is heinous enough (murder, rape, child molestation).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As much as I agree with lowering the adulthood age to 18 I really don't think that will have any impact on youth crime. I also don't think that harsher penalties will do anything because of the passive police force that do not enforce laws regularly. There will be a two week campaign and then it will be back to normal. Just like riding a bicycle while listening to music, holding an umbrella while riding and that rubbish they announced last week about cracking down on bicycle riders in Tokyo. Yeah, they might catch a few in the first two or three weeks of the legislation going through, but it is extremely unlikely anyone will actually penalized under this reform.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

DisillusionedFeb. 10, 2013 - 11:51PM JST

As much as I agree with lowering the adulthood age to 18 I really don't think that will have any impact on youth crime. I also don't think that harsher penalties will do anything

Well, the two main causes of youth crimes are poor schooling and underemployment. Both of those need to be fixed before crime can be lowered substantially and in the long term.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It may also stop the yaks using teens as footsoldiers to do their 'stabby' work.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Most juvenile crimes aren't long, thought-out master plans. They're spur-of-the-moment acts or crimes of passion.

I don't think this is correct. The crime is more of a lifestyle that is disconnected with reality. The youth of today's vision of life is what they see on TV and in video games, as some previous posters have pointed out. They have everything their parents can give them, no responsibilities and are not held accountable for their actions. They don't fear their parents and they don't fear the police, they are going to probation for anything until they are 20, so why worry?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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