The Process in Court for Juvenile Offenders
Process in the Family Court
Investigation and Hearing
The Family Court places priority on the protection and correction in the treatment of all juvenile offenders referred to it. The 1500 Family Court probation officers stationed throughout the country play a substantial role in the treatment of juveniles. From the time a juvenile enters the system until a hearing is conducted, the probation officer makes an in-depth investigation into the child’s character, life history, family background, and environment. Juvenile Law, Article 22, Section 1 stipulates that “hearings shall be conducted softly and mildly with warm consideration”; the hearings shall not be open to the public. Although findings of fact must be established beyond a reasonable doubt, hearings do not employ the rule of evidence stipulated by the Criminal Procedure Law. In Japan, the processes of adjudication and disposition (in adult as well as juvenile cases) are not separated but rather conducted in an integrated fashion (Morita 2002).