White paper on crime 2011 Part2/Chapter4/Section2/3
Guidance for reform and guidance through school courses are the core of the correctional treatment provided to inmates besides the work. Guidance upon commencement of execution of the sentence and guidance prior to release are also provided, with the four forms of guidance being collectively called correctional guidance.
Inmates are provided with guidance on the meaning of serving a sentence, the necessary matters regarding their correctional treatment (matters that require attention in their work and the purpose/outline of the guidance for reform, etc. they receive), and the rules that must, in principle, be followed in penal institutions immediately after admission for two weeks in principle.
Guidance for reform aims to enable inmates to be aware of their responsibility for the offenses they committed, foster a sound mind and body, and train them to acquire the knowledge and attitudes needed in adapting to a societal life. It includes both general and special guidance for reform.
General guidance for reform is provided through lectures, gymnastics, events, interviews, consultations and advice, along with other methods, and with the aim of helping inmates to  understand their victims’ feelings and have a sense of remorse,  lead a regular life with a sound way of thinking, thereby promoting their own mental and physical health, and  prepare to map out a new life upon returning to society, and acquire the skills necessary in adapting to a societal life, etc.
Special guidance for reform is provided to any inmates that can be considered to face difficulties in the course of their reform and rehabilitation or smooth reintegration back into society due to certain circumstances, such as a drug dependency or being an organized crime group member. The following six types of special guidance for reform are available:  “guidance on overcoming drug addiction” (prompting inmates to think about concrete ways in which they can avoid using drugs again, after first having enabled them to understand the problems resulting from their drug use, etc.; provided by 76 institutions in FY 2010),  “guidance on withdrawing from being an organized crime group member” (the provision of guidance, etc. that prompts inmates to realize the anti-social side of organized crime groups in a collaboration with the police with the aim of fostering their will to break away from such groups, etc.; 36 institutions (id.)),  “guidance on prevention of repeat sexual offenses” (prompting inmates to realize the problems they have that led to the sexual offense they committed, and prompting them to learn concrete ways in which they can avoid repeating them, etc.; 18 institutions (id.)),  “education from the victims’ point of view” (prompting inmates to realize the seriousness of the offense they committed and the feelings of their victims, etc., and prompting them to think about how to apologize to them in a sincere manner, etc.; 77 institutions (id.)),  “traffic safety guidance” (prompting inmates to be aware of the responsibilities and obligations involved when driving a vehicle, and prompting them to realize the seriousness of their offense, etc.; 54 institutions (id.)), and  “employment support guidance” (aim of enabling inmates to learn the basic skills and manners necessary to be employed, and thus enabling them to make concrete efforts to be employed after their release, etc.; 64 institutions (id.)).
Guidance through school courses is the equivalent of an academic education that is made available to inmates who can be considered to face difficulties in the course of their reformation and rehabilitation or smooth reintegration back into society due to the lack of academic abilities necessary in leading a social life (supplementary guidance through school courses), as well as to inmates for whom enhanced academic abilities could particularly contribute to their smooth reintegration back into society (special guidance through school courses).
Since FY 2007 the Certificate for Students Achieving the Proficiency Level of Upper Secondary School Graduates (high school graduate equivalency examination) has been made available in penal institutions in cooperation between the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and guidance on taking the examination actively provided at four designated penal institutions. In FY 2010, 393 persons took the examination, of which 143 passed the examination and 234 passed part of subjects (Source: The Lifelong Learning Policy Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology).
Inmates are provided with guidance on the knowledge that will be necessary in actually leading a social life for two weeks, in principle, before their release. Lectures, personal interviews, and other methods are used to provide them with knowledge on social situations and the various procedures necessary in society. Guidance through field trips while accompanied by officials of penal institutions is also provided, as required. In addition, so-called “open dormitories,” open zones in which locking of the cells is not strictly enforced, has been established for use in penal institutions and treatment for inmates can be implemented in this zone before their release in thus facilitating their smooth reintegration back into society.