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In Japan, juvenile delinquency as specified in Juvenile Law is the general term for the following three types of act or conduct: (1) criminal acts by juveniles aged 14 (the minimum age for criminal liability) and over but less than 20, (2) illegal acts by juvenile offenders under 14 years of age (punishable offense without criminal liability due to age), and (3) status offenses juveniles under 20 years of age. "Status offenses"refer to acts that are deemed likely to result in future offenses or violation of criminal laws in light of personal character or environment due to any of the following grounds: (i)a tendency toward disobedience to the lawful supervision of guardians, (ii)staying away from home without justifiable reason, (iii)contact with persons with criminal or immoral tendencies or frequentation of places of disrepute, or (iv)a tendency toward acts that are detrimental to the morality of themselves or others. Juvenile offenders subjected to family court hearings include three types of juveniles described above: (1) juvenile delinquents; (2) juvenile offenders under 14; and (3) status offenders.
For the purpose of this chapter, persons under 20 years of age are treated as juveniles even when reference is made to trends in juvenile delinquency before the enforcement of the current Juvenile Law. Unless specified otherwise, the clearance and guidance of juvenile delinquents and juvenile offenders under age 14 are collectively referred to as"clearance, "which is distinguished from the"guidance"of status offenders.