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 White paper on crime 2004 Part4/Chapter1. 

Part4 Trends in Juvenile Delinquency and Treatment of Juvenile Delinquents

Chapter1. Trends and Characteristics of Juvenile Delinquency

In Japan,juvenile delinquency under the Juvenile Law collectively refers to the following acts and offenses:
  1.Criminal acts by juveniles aged14(the minimum age for criminal liability)and over but less than20;2.Illegal acts by juveniles under14years of age(punishable offense without criminal liability due to age);and3.Status offenses by juveniles under20years of age(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:(a)a tendency toward disobedience to the lawful supervision of guardians,(b)staying away from home without justifiable reason,(c)contact with persons with criminal or immoral tendencies or frequentation of places of disrepute,or(d)a tendency toward acts that are detrimental to the morality of the juveniles themselves or others).
  In accordance with the above-mentioned classification,the juvenile delinquents who need to be subjected to family court hearings are categorized into three types of juveniles:(1) juvenile offenders aged14-19;(2) juvenile offenders under14; and(3) status offenders.
  In this chapter,persons under20years of age are treated as juveniles even when reference is made to trends in juvenile delinquency before the enforcement of the current Juvenile Law(January1949).Unless specified otherwise,the clearance and guidance of juvenile offenders aged14-19and juvenile offenders under age14are collectively referred to as"clearance,"which is distinguished from the"guidance"of status offenders.