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 White paper on crime 2009 Part4/Chapter2/Section1/4 

4 Flow of treatment procedure pertaining to criminal dispositions

(1) Prosecution and criminal trials

  Public prosecutors are required to prosecute a case referred from a family court if there is sufficient probable cause for the prosecution to suspect that an offence has been committed.
  A prosecuted juvenile is subject to basically the same procedure as adults. However, a trial can result in a court deciding to transfer the case to a family court if deemed appropriate to place the juvenile defendant under protective measures as a result of the trial. In addition, when imprisonment with or without work for three years or more is deemed appropriate for him/her, an indeterminate sentence (where the minimum and maximum term of imprisonment are defined; the minimum term and the maximum term must not exceed five years and 10 years, respectively) not exceeding the term of the penalty can be rendered (excluding any case where suspension of execution of the sentence was granted). For juveniles younger than 18 at the time of the offense, life imprisonment must be imposed if death penalty is appropriate for him/her. In a similar manner, imprisonment with or without work for a limited term can be imposed if life imprisonment is appropriate.

(2) Execution of the sentence

  Juveniles sentenced to imprisonment with or without work may serve their sentences separately from adults in specially segregated areas in penal institutions. However, juveniles may serve their sentences at juvenile training schools until turning 16 (in which case they are not subject to work and instead receive correctional education for that period).

(3) Release on parole

  Juveniles sentenced to life imprisonment are eligible for release on parole after having served seven years (10 years for those under 18 at the time of the offense and thus sentenced to life imprisonment instead of death penalty), while those under 18 at the time of the offense and hence sentenced to imprisonment for a limited term instead of life imprisonment are eligible after having served three years. Those sentenced to indeterminate sentence are eligible after having served one third of the minimum term of their sentence.