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District courts have first instance jurisdiction, except for offenses subject to fine or lighter punishments and offenses for which high courts have first instance jurisdiction.
Summary courts have first instance jurisdiction over offenses subject to fine or lighter punishments, offenses whose statutory penalty includes fine, and certain offenses such as habitual gambling. Summary courts in principle cannot sentence imprisonment or heavier penalties, but can sentence imprisonment with work for three years or less for certain offenses such as theft.
High courts have jurisdiction over Koso appeals against judgments made in district or summary courts. In addition, high courts have first instance jurisdiction over insurrection.
The Supreme Court has jurisdiction over Jokoku appeals.
Family courtsdeal with hearings of juvenile protection cases. Prior to revision of the Juvenile Act (Act No. 168 of 1948) and the Court Act (Act No. 59 of 1947) by the Act for Partial Amendment of the Juvenile Act (Act No. 71 of 2008) on December 15, 2008, family courts had first instance jurisdiction over prosecution of adult criminal cases concerning the welfare of juveniles (certain offenses prescribed by the Juvenile Act including Child Welfare Act violations, etc.). The revision resulted in district and summary courts having first instance jurisdiction over the latter criminal cases.