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 White paper on crime 2009 Part4/Chapter2/Section1/1 

1 Flow of procedure until referral to a family court

(1) Juvenile offenders

  When the police, etc. clear a juvenile offender, except for cases involving Road Traffic Act violations where non-penal fine is paid in accordance with the traffic infraction notification system, the case is referred to a family court if for an offense liable to fine or lighter punishment, or to the public prosecutors for offenses liable to other punishments. Public prosecutors investigate the case and then refer it to a family court if there is probable cause to suspect that an offence has been committed or any other reason exists that a hearing in a family court is deemed necessary.

(2) Juveniles of illegal behavior and pre-delinquents

  A family court may subject juveniles of illegal behavior and pre-delinquents younger than 14 to a hearing only upon receiving the juvenile from a prefectural governor or the director of a child guidance center. Police officers have the right to investigate a case if they discover reasonable grounds to suspect a juvenile of illegal behavior. The police investigate the case and refer it to the director of a child guidance center if the act of the juvenile is deemed to be a serious offense of criminal laws.
  Anyone who has discovered a pre-delinquent aged 14 or older is required, in principle, to notify a family court of the case. However, a police officer or guardian may directly notify a child guidance center of the case if the pre-delinquent is younger than 18 and it is deemed more appropriate to handle the case by first taking measures under the Child Welfare Act.