1 Flow of procedure until referral to a family court

(1) Juvenile offenders

When the police, etc. clear a juvenile offender, excluding cases involving Road Traffic Act violations where a non-penal fine is paid in accordance with the traffic infraction notification system, the case is referred to a family court if for offenses liable to fine or lighter punishments, or to the public prosecutors for offenses liable to more serious 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 for a hearing in a family court being deemed necessary.

(2) Juvenile offenders under 14 and pre-delinquents

A family court may subject juvenile offenders under 14 and pre-delinquents (refers to juveniles that have exhibited pre-delinquency behavior) 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 have reasonable grounds to believe that they discovered a juvenile offender under 14. The police investigate the case and refer it to the director of a child guidance center if the act of the juvenile was deemed to have been a serious offense.

Anyone who has discovered a pre-delinquent aged 14 or older is required to refer to or 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 at first with measures under the Child Welfare Act than referring it to or notifying a family court.