Japanese Correctional System Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1452 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice


Again, this is meant to reward good-faith efforts of personal improvement of one's behavior. Over and over again, the punishment of the offender is not stressed, rather forgiveness is, on the part of victim and Japanese society in general.

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The behavioral pattern of "apology-forgiveness" seems to be "an ingrained cultural heritage...which serves to make a harmonious, peace-oriented society "(Hosoi & Nishimura 1999: 2-3). But not everyone is satisfied with this system of justice in Japan. The socially restorative justice emphasis, some allege, "works only for perpetrator and authorities," not the victim (Hosoi & Nishimura 1999: 4). Although the restorative approach is supposed to be more effective at reducing criminality statistically, the Japanese social order may itself be the cause of this statistic, as the socially cohesive emphasis of Japan tends to discourage criminal 'acting out.' According to a research study of the Japanese victims of crime, the mental condition and attitudes after the aggressors had been punished were still disturbed and "most victims feel very dissatisfied both with the personal apology and material restitution by the perpetrator since most of the restitution and apology are done through a substitute, the professional attorney" (Hosoi & Nishimura 1999: 4). The level of dissatisfaction on the part of victims is especially marked the case of the juvenile justice system in Japan. Like America, Japan has a separate system of justice for juveniles. "According to juvenile law, the purpose of this is to protect and nurture young offenders. Therefore, judges are obliged to return young offenders back to community" almost regardless of the offense the individual has committed (Hosoi & Nishimura 1999: 6).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Japanese Correctional System as Compared Assignment

Although the punishment phase of the Japanese correctional system may be restorative, its judicial phase is not. Japan has no right of habeas corpus, the right not to be held without formal charges (Debito & Aldwinckle 2002). "The police, prosecution and court are administered based upon the model of "just deserts," while the probation, training facilities and prisons are run by the ideal of rehabilitation (Hosoi & Nishimura 1999: 4). The stress is on finding crime, and extracting apologies to restore the social order, not protecting the rights of the accused or the victim. This would indicate that the Japanese criminal justice system is very far from meting out a pure ideal of restorative justice. "Seen this way, confession, remorse and apology in the Japanese system seem to be pretentious. How can the spirit of restorative justice change the Japanese system" if some of the apologies are extracted from the innocent who are too hastily convicted, as well as the guilty who are not sincere and apologize merely to get a reduced or suspended sentence (Hosoi & Nishimura 1999: 6).

Furthermore, there have been allegations that when abuse occurs, the emphasis on social harmony again allows for no relief. "The Prison Law provides for a petition system, which allows prisoners to appeal directly to the justice minister. However, this system exists all but in name. In the past two years, for example, there have been about 250 complaints, including reports of assaults on manacled prisoners, but to our knowledge, no prison guards involved have ever received disciplinary action under the National Civil Service Law" (Debito & Aldwinckle 2002). In short, criminals who do not go along with the system of apology demanded by the Japanese system, and instead resist the expected role they are supposed to play within the system, are often harshly treated, and have little recourse to protest their punishment.

Rather than call the system in Japan 'better' or more 'humane,' a more accurate characterization might be that it allows for less individualized responses to crime, and is less interested in protecting the rights and interests of the accused or the victim. Instead, social restoration is its primary goal, rather than attending to the rights of the accused, or the feelings of victims.

Works Cited

Debito, Arudou & Dave Aldwinckle. (2002). "Arrest and Detention Periods of Criminal Suspects Under Japanese Law


Coutsoukis, Photius. (10 Nov 2004). "Japan: The Penal System." CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 11 Feb 2008 at http://www.photius.com/countries/japan/national_security/japan_national_security_the_penal_system.html

Hosoi, Yoko & Haruo Nishimura. (1999). "The Role of Apology in the Japanese

Criminal Justice System." Paper presented at the Restoration for Victims of Crime Conference. Australian Institute of Criminology Retrieved 11 Feb 2008… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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