(a) Measures taken to indiscriminately guarantee the rights stipulated in the principles of the Constitution or the child-related domestic laws and the international agreements against discrimination
89. See the Answer 14 to the question from the Committee on the Rights of
Child for Reviewing the Initial Report of Japan.
To be specific, the following examples can be cited:
(1) In compliance with the spirit of the Constitution, the Child Welfare Law stipulates in paragraph 2 of Article 1 that "the life of every child shall equally be guaranteed and protected."
(2) There are no nationality requirements in the provisions of the Child Welfare Law, the Child Allowance Law, the Child Rearing Allowance Law or the Special Child Rearing Allowance Law. Thus these laws assume no difference in treatments of children according to nationality.
(3) The Law for Punishing Acts Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and for Protecting Children punishes those who were involved in acts related to the prostitution and pornography, etc., of the child of all nationality.
(4) As stated in paragraph 48 of the Initial Report of Japan, all forms of discrimination against children by public authorities are prohibited, and in any of Juvenile Classification Homes, Juvenile Training Schools, and penal institutions, the basic principle is the equal treatment of juveniles sent there, with consideration to elimination of discriminative treatment.
(5) In December 2000, the Law on Promoting Human Rights Education and Human Right Edification was promulgated and enforced. It stipulates, as a basic idea that human rights education and edification conducted by national and prefectures must be conducted, with efforts to provide various opportunities and to adopt effective methods, so that people can deepen and acquire the understanding of the respects for human rights according to the development stage of each individual through activities carried out in schools, communities, homes, workplaces, and various other places. Along with the promulgation and enforcement of this law, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has recently made an announcement to the relevant agencies, etc., to the effect that human rights education in school education and social education should be conducted more appropriately according to the basic principle of the law.
(b) Measures to cope with cases of discrimination
90. See paragraphs 51 to 53 in the First Government Report.
(c) Prevention of discrimination against children in the most disadvantageous positions
91. See the Answer 15 to the question from the Committee on the Rights of Child for Reviewing the Initial Report of Japan
92. Article 3 of the Disabled Persons Fundamental Law provides that the individual dignity of every handicapped person shall be respected; he/she shall have the right to be treated in a manner appropriate for his/her inherent dignity; and he/she shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in activities of every field.
93. In order to make the general public aware of the importance of
respecting human rights including children's rights and propagate and promot
e the respect for human rights, the human rights organs of the Ministry of
Justice are conducting positive promotion activities, e.g., holding lectures
and discussions, broadcasting on TV and the radio, and distributing
leaflets, which contribute to the prevention of the human rights problems of
children. In addition to the daily promotional activities to eliminate
prejudice and discrimination against the Ainu people, persons with
disabilities and foreigners, including children, nationwide educational
activities are carried out through campaigns and lectures during Human
Rights Week (every year, one week that ends on the Human Rights Day,
December 10 is designated as Human Rights Week, and educational activities
are run on a grand scale) and on the Human Rights Volunteers Day (June 1).
Should an incident of discrimination actually occur against illegitimates, Ainus, and disabled persons, including children, it is coped with as a case of human rights infringement by taking proper measures to eliminate the infringement.
94. As for refugees (Convention on Refugees) and applicants for refugee
status defined by the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951
(Refugee Convention) and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees of
1967 (Refugee Protocol), the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for
recognition of the refugee status, has never disclosed any personal
identification data such as nationality and name in view of protecting
privacy and ensuring safety of individuals. The fact of being a Convention
Refugee, or an applicant for the refugee status, or a child of either does
not directly mean that he/she has to suffer social discrimination.
When joining the Refugee Convention of 1981 and the Refugee Protocol of 1982, Japan adjusted the domestic laws in order to ensure the bona fide implementation of the Convention by removing the nationality requirement for the allowance from the provisions of the National Pension Law, the Child Allowance Law, the Child Rearing Allowance Law and the Special Child Rearing Allowance Law, so that they can, in principle, obtain the entitlement in the same way as Japanese nationals or ordinary foreigners.
(d) Measures to eliminate the discrimination against the girl child, Measures to be taken as the follow up of the 4th World Conference on Women)
95. In response to the request of "the Beijing Platform for Action" adopted
at the 4th World Conference on Women, Japan established "the Plan for Gender
Equality 2000" in December 1996, incorporating new international norms and
standards presented in "the Beijing Platform for Action" into relevant
domestic matters and implementing various measures.
In June 1999 Japan enacted "the Basic Law for a Gender-equal Society" which promulgates as one of its basic ideas respect for the human rights of women and men, for instance, respect for the dignity of men and women as individuals; no gender-based discriminatory treatment of women or men; the securing of opportunities for men and women to exercise their abilities as individuals. In December 2000, the Government of Japan established the Basic Plan for Gender Equality based on the above Law, and is promoting the measures comprehensively in accordance with the Plan.
The Plan also stipulates objectives such as awareness reform. One of the biggest obstacles in realizing gender-equality is the stereotyped division of roles on the basis of gender that has been formed over years in people's perception. While such division of roles is changing with the times, it still remains rooted in the people's life. In order for the concepts of gender equality and respect for human rights to take root throughout the people, Japan actively conducts public relation and educational activities are vigorously pursued through various media.
96. Japan sent a delegation composed of about 40 people to the 23rd special
session of the United Nations General Assembly "Women 2000" which was held
as a follow up to the 4th World Conference on Women. The delegation was
headed by Ms. Sumiko Iwao, the
chairperson of the Council for Gender Equality, representatives from NGOs (4
persons including Ms. Iwao), members of parliamentarians as advisers (5
persons), and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the
National Personnel Authority, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of
Education, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry
and Fisheries, and Ministry of Labor.
Japan also joined the negotiation as a member of JUSCANZ (Japan, the US, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Republic of Korea, and San Marino), and made efforts to include in the outcome document such items as collection of sex-disaggregated data, improvement of education, advancement of women, status in agricultural, forestry and fishing villages.
(e) Collecting data on discriminated groups
97. See Paragraph 29.
(f) Prevention and elimination of attitudes and prejudices to children that contribute to social and ethnic tension, racism and xenophobia
98. Paragraph 91-94.
(g) Protection of children from discrimination and punishment
99. See Paragraph 89.
When a human rights violation against a child of a foreigner is suspected to have occurred, the responsible authority, in cooperation with relevant authorities, is actively engaged in solving the problem by providing remedy for the child victim and educating the persons concerned about the idea of respecting human rights.
(h) Major problems in implementing Article 2, the plan for solving those problems, and the evaluation of progress in discrimination prevention
100. Japan enacted a fundamental plan for disabled persons based on paragraph 2, Article 7 of the Disabled Persons Fundamental Law, checks the status of implementation accordingly so that the plan can be steadily implemented.
101. Cases of human rights violation against foreigners handled by human
rights organs of the Ministry of Justice include ones of "refusing
foreigners entry to a public bath" and of "spreading rumors that slander
foreigners." There have also been cases of discriminatory language used
against foreigners who are permanent residents, and those of discriminatory
In order to provide consultation for foreigners living in Japan, the human rights organs of the Ministry of Justice have established "human rights counseling centers for foreigners" with interpreters of English, Chinese and other languages, at the Legal Affairs Bureaus in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Fukuoka and Takamatsu, and at the District Legal Affairs Bureaus of in Kobe and Matsuyama. These Centers give consultation on a wide range of matters: work conditions, marriage, divorce, relationship of married couples, naturalization, nationality acquisition, compensation for damage and criminal cases.
The human rights organs of the Ministry of Justice actively engaged in solving problems by investigating and handling human rights violation cases, and by educating the persons concerned about the idea of respecting human rights through human rights counseling.
The Council for the Human Rights Promotion established in the Ministry of Justice submitted a report on the ideal framework of the human rights remedy system in May 2001.
The report proposed to establish the new human rights remedy system led by the Human Rights Committee (tentative name) which is independent from the Government, so that positive remedy is made by putting into practice more effective investigatory procedures and remedial methods regarding certain human rights violations including discriminatory treatment in the social life on the basis of race, creed, sex, social status, family origin, disability, disease, sexual orientation, etc.
The Government is of the opinion that it will pay the maximum respect to the recommendations of the Council, and will make every effort to establish the recommended new human rights remedy system.
(a) Reflecting the principle of "the best interests of the child" in the constitution, related domestic laws and regulations
102. Article 1 of the
Child Welfare Law prescribes that "all people shall strive to ensure the
sound birth and growth of children, both in mind and body." Other than that,
Articles 2 and 3 of the Child Welfare Law, Article 3 of the Maternal and
Child Health Law, etc., assume that a child's best interest is to be
considered in each individual case.
In addition, in the Amendments of the Child Welfare Law of 1997, the following amendments were made so that the Administration will give further consideration to a child's best interests:
(1) For the increased specialization and objectivity in the case when a Child Guidance Center takes such action as placing a child in an institution, it is explicitly stipulated stated that the Center shall hear the child's own intention.
(2) When the intention of the child or the guardian (s) dose not coincide with the policy of the Child Guidance Center, or when the Child Guidance Center deems it necessary, the Center shall hear the opinion of a sub-group of a council composed of experts in medicine and law.
(3) The system has been changed so that guardians can choose desirable
Day-care Centers based on the provided information about day care.
Furthermore, the Child Welfare Law prescribes that prefectural administrations can place a child in a Children's Home, etc., with the approval of a Family Court in order to ensure the child's best interests, and that the superintendent of the Child Guidance Center can request a Family Court to approve forfeit of parental authority from its holder.
103. Article 1 of the Law for Punishing Acts Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and for Protecting Children stipulates that "This law aims at defending the rights of children by punishing the acts involved in child prostitution and child pornography, and by establishing measures to protect children who have suffered mental and physical harm from those acts." This law also has provisions on consideration for the rights and characteristics of children while conducting investigations and trials, prohibition of the publication of information from which victimized children could be identified on news stories and protection for children who have suffered mental and physical harm, and so on.
(b) Consideration for the principle of "best interests of the child"
(Child Welfare Facilities)
104. Standards for equipment and management of child welfare facilities are
stipulated in the Minimum Standards for Child Welfare Facilities
(Ministerial Ordinance) provided by the Minister of Health, Labor and
Welfare. Pursuant to the Child Welfare Law, founders of these facilities are
obliged to abide by the standards.
The Minimum Standards for Child Welfare Facilities stipulate general rules for the construction and equipment for child welfare facilities, emergency/disasters, general requirements for personnel, sanitation control, meal, medical examination for residents and employees, etc. (in Chapter 1, General Provisions); and equipment standards for respective child welfare facilities and criteria for the number and competence (qualification) of personnel, etc. (from Chapters 2 to 11 inclusive).
Moreover, to maintain the Minimum Standards, governors may request the heads of child welfare facilities to submit reports, enter the facilities periodically, examine equipment and management; recommend and order necessary improvements; and order the suspension of operation.
(New Angel Plan)
105. See Paragraph 34.
106. Article 1 of the Law for Determination of Family Affairs and Article 1 of the Rules for Determination of Family Affairs assume that the best interests of each child are to be considered. Determination of Family Affairs proceedings are conducted according to these provisions, thus it can be said that the child's best interests are taken into consideration.
107. Article 1 of the Juvenile Law and Article 1 of the Rules of Juvenile Proceeding assume that the best interests of each child are to be considered. Juvenile proceeding are conducted according to these provisions , thus it can be said that the child's best interests are taken into consideration.
108. As stated above, Article 1 of the Juvenile Law assumes that the
child's best interests are to be considered. Details of treatment in
correctional institutions are as follows:
In Juvenile Classification Homes, it is prescribed that juveniles shall be placed in a lively and quiet environment so that they can attend their hearings, feeling secured (Article 2 of the Juvenile Classification Homes Treatment Regulations). In Juvenile Training Schools, it is stated that they shall be treated, with due consideration for the state of their mental and physical development, in a lively environment, aiming at their sound growth in both mind and body (Article 1 of the Juvenile Training School Treatment Regulations). In Juvenile Prisons, school education, vocational training, etc., are provided according to the state of their mental and physical development, paying consideration to their sound growth. Juveniles are treated with due consideration for their best interests in view of the purposes of the treatment for those sent to the respective facilities.
109. In Japan, there are two types of adoption where minors are adopted
under the Civil Code: ordinary adoption and special adoption.
Ordinary adoption creates a legal parental relation between the adoptive parents and the adoptive child who acquires the status of a legitimate child. If the child to be adopted is a minor, a permission of the Family Court is necessary in principle for the adoption to be effective. If the minor who is to be adopted is aged 15 or older, the minor himself/herself is the concerned party; if he/she is under 15 years of age, a legal representative is the concerned party, though the Family Court may hear opinions of the minor upon its own authority. In granting a permission, the Family Court determines the case on the basis of whether the adoption is consistent with the welfare of the minor.
Special adoption is effected not by the agreement between the adoptive parents and the adoptive child, but by the Family Courts' determination upon the request from the adoptive parents when the adoptive child is, in principle under 6 years of age at the time of request. In special adoption, the existing family relationship of the adopted child with his/her natural parents and his/her blood relatives is terminated. Therefore, the special adoption is effected only if the placing of the child in the custody of his/her natural parents is extremely difficult or inappropriate and there is an extraordinary need for the interests of the child. In addition, consent of the child's natural parents is also required for the special adoption, unless the parents cannot express their opinions or the interests of the adoptive child are extremely infringed by such acts as abused by his/her parents.
As can be seen from the above, in adoption, maximum consideration is paid to the interest of the minor to be adopted.
(Survey in planning and deciding policies)
110. In planning and deciding various domestic policies, inherent
characteristics of the field for measures on child fosterage do not allow
surveys such as random sampling control experiments in most cases.
Nevertheless, researches and studies are constantly being conducted on the
awareness and trends in the lives of the children, parents, teachers and
other parties concerned. Furthermore, statistics and indices on population,
household, social infrastructure, etc., that are closely connected to
children have been prepared. Thus we understand that these are actively
utilized in planning and deciding various policies.
In most cases of planning and deciding various domestic policies, experts other than administrative officials in diverse areas hold consultations and seminars to give multidirectional consideration to abundant statistics and research data beforehand. We believe that the best interests of the children who are subject to these measures are given preliminary consideration through these processes.
(c) Ensuring protection and care of children
111. See Paragraph 55 of the First Government Report.
112. Under the Child Welfare Law, a person who has found a child whose guardian is unfit for care and custody of the child must report to a Child Guidance Center and such. Child Guidance Centers may, pursuant to the Child Welfare Law, take actions such as placing the said child in a Home for Infant or a Children's Home in cases where the care and custody by the guardian significantly harm the welfare of the child, e.g. a person with parental authority or a guardian who is responsible for the child neglects care and custody substantially. If the actions such as placing the child in an institution are contrary to the will of his/her guardian, such actions shall be allowed after obtaining the Family Court's approval.
113. In response to a sharp increase in the number of cases at Child Guidance Centers for consultation on child abuse, which shows that problems of child abuse are becoming increasingly serious, the Child Abuse Prevention Law was enforced in November 2000. Under said law, further measures are being undertaken to promote early detection and early coping, and the protection of abused children.
(d) Measures taken based on Article 3, Paragraph 3
114. See Paragraph 56 of the Initial Report of Japan.
See Paragraph 104.
(e) Experts training concerning the principle of "the best interests of the child"
115. See Paragraph 44-52.
(Creation of an environment where the right of a child to life is guaranteed, and survival and development of a child is ensured)
116. Article 1, Paragraph 2 of the Child Welfare Law provides that "the life of each child shall equally be guaranteed and protected." Furthermore, Article 3 of the Maternity and Child Health Law prescribes that "in order to ensure the sound growth of infants and toddlers, both in mind and body, their health shall be maintained and enhanced," based on which, the Government is improving the health maintenance of small children by providing perinatal and pediatric medical systems.
(Prevention of suicide by child and its monitoring)
117. Persons in the juvenescence tend to have worries and anxieties. In
some cases, they cannot find any solution to their problems with low grades
or friendships, not being able to talk to anyone, and they may eventually
kill themselves. The Police are striving to prevent suicides by early
detection of juveniles intending to commit suicide through all sorts of
police activities such as juvenile guidance on the street and juvenile
advisory activities, and, when such juveniles are found, by providing expert
counseling through juvenile counseling specialists and guidance officials
along with supporting activities in cooperation with guardians.
Moreover, Juvenile Support Centers at the Prefectural Police offer counseling services such as Young Telephone Corner, responding to requested for counseling from juveniles who have the problems of juvenile delinquency, school problems, and family problems, as well as requests for counseling on suicide, at all times.
118. A childs ending his/her own life, whatever the reason may be, must not
happen. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology,
with a focus on kokoro no kyouiku (education of the heart) is endeavoring
through the boards of education to implement guidance so that schools will
foster in students the attitude of being considerate to and respecting each
other, as well as valuing life and human rights, and will guide children
properly on the beauty and joy of living through activities in school
In addition, aiming at the enhancement of systems in which a child with a worry can feel free to ask for advice at any time, the Ministry intends to improve counseling systems at school by increasing the number of school counselors visiting schools and by stationing advisors in the classrooms for easing children's mind and is promoting 24-hour telephone counseling services for children. Prefectures are also striving for the improvement of counseling systems in the communities by establishing advisory institutions for children at education centers and such.
(Survival of child and prevention of dangers to which specific age groups are particularly exposed (sexually transmitted diseases, street violence, etc.))
119. With a view to protecting children from falling victim to increasing
crimes, the National Police Agency established a "Program of Measures for
Protecting Women and Children" in December 1999, thereby enhancing the
countermeasures to guard children from crime.
Specifically, the Agency are engaged in the following measures:
(1) Reinforcing of precautionary activities such as patrolling, focusing on school zones and parks
(2) Lending crime-preventing tools such as crime-preventing buzzers free of charge, giving lectures on crime prevention, etc.
(3) Providing informations on actual cases in which children have fallen victim to crime (community safety information)
(4) Providing support for spontaneous crime prevention activities such as a "Dial 110 Home for Children" that serves as an emergency shelter for children
(5) Establishing "missing children finding network" for the search and
finding of missing children
In addition, "Crime Prevention through Town Planning" aiming at ensuring a safer neighborhood by providing security lights, crime-prevention buzzers, etc., and removing thickets that produce dark corners, is being promoted in cooperation with respecture municipalities. The 2000 budget includes a pilot project of such program, aiming at installing multi-functional street lights at 10 locations across the country as part of a system to be called as the street emergency reporting system.
(Preventive measures at school against sexually transmitted diseases)
120. The "Courses of Study," the government guidelines for teaching, revised in 1998, includes more substantial guidance on prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) by specifying, for example, that the subject of health and physical education at lower secondary schools shall cover AIDS and STDs as new items. Furthermore, the authority implemented measures such as preparing and distributing teaching materials for elementary, junior high and high school students, practical researches in the designated pilot areas, and conducting training courses for teaching staff, as well as preparing and distributing reference materials for teachers in 2001.
(a) Considerations on respect for views of the child
121. See Paragraphs 61 and 62 of the Initial Report of Japan.
(b) Legislative and other measures
122. In taking disciplinary actions against students at schools, the Government has been instructing boards of education, etc., to pay full attention to the circumstances surrounding each student by listening to his/her explanation and opinion as well as to consider so that such disciplinary actions will have essential educational effects, instead of just serving as sanctions. On the other hand, considering that suspension, which is a system that guarantees the right of other students to an education, is a measure that directly involves the rights and duties of students, it is important to follow the proper procedures when giving a suspension. Therefore, the Government has instructed through notifications that it is desirable to have occasions to listen to the accounts of the student in question and his/her guardians and it is appropriate to do it by issuing a paper through providing notification. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has filed amendments to the School Education Law that include clarification of the requirements and procedures for suspension system at the 151th ordinary session of the Diet.
123. When classifying the nature of a juvenile at Juvenile Classification Homes, the officials explain obtained data to the juvenile, give an opportunity to express his/her opinions, and conduct the interview based on the opinions in view of ensuring the appropriateness of juvenile classification. At Juvenile Training Schools, it is provided that the superintendent shall endeavor to interview the residents from time to time in order to listen to their statements on their treatment or personal affairs (Article 4 of the Juvenile Training School Treatment Regulations). At penal institutions, it is also prescribed that an interview shall be conducted at the request of a juvenile to make a statement on the measures at the facility or his/her personal affairs (Article 9 of the Prison Law Enforcement Regulations). Moreover, in addition to the interviews by heads of these facilities, in practice of correctional institutions, staff members listen to the juveniles' opinions on everyday life and treatment in their daily contact with the juveniles.
124. See Paragraph 55 of this report.
(Placement in Facilities, etc.)
125. Pursuant to the Child Welfare Law (Article 26) and ordinances based on the Law, the following measures are taken to respect opinions of the child.
(1) When governors (or the authorized Child Guidance Centers) make a decision on placement in facilities, etc., and the said decision disagrees with the will of the child or his/her guardian, prefectural child welfare councils with experts on law, medicine, etc., as their members shall be consulted.
(2) It is stipulated that opinions of the child shall be respected in
placing him/her in an institution.
As regards life at such facilities:
(1) Pursuant to the Social Welfare Law enforced in June 2000, it is provided that managers of social welfare businesses are obliged to make efforts on solving claims from users; and that prefectures shall establish committees for proper management within social welfare councils to provide a mechanism in which complaints from users are responded to and their solutions are mediated.
(2) For child welfare facilities, it was provided that the Minimum Standards for Child Welfare Facilities were to be reformed in September 2000 to prescribe that each facility shall take necessary measures such as establishing a section to respond speedily and properly to the complaints from children placed in the facility.
(Measures, etc., at Child Guidance Centers)
126. When a Child Guidance Center takes or cancels an action on a child based on the Child Welfare Law, Article 27, Paragraph 8 of provides that the will of the child and the guardian shall be confirmed.
(c) Opportunities, etc., to hear the opinions of the child in the judicial and administrative proceedings
127. As regards judicial proceedings in Japan, anyone who is a party, or a
person concerned is generally guaranteed to the opportunity to express
Nevertheless, proceedings in cases relating to personal status and determination and conciliations of domestic relations concerning emergence, alteration or dissolution of status relationship, require procedural actions through legal representatives for minor (less than 20 years of age) who are incapable of understanding interests (advantage and disadvantage) of juristic acts, and proceedings in civil suits (excluding cases relating to personal status), administrative litigations, and conciliations of civil affairs require procedural actions through legal representatives for minors.
As regards proceedings in juvenile hearings and criminal actions:
(1) Expressing views as a defendant, etc.
In juvenile hearings, the juvenile and his/her guardian must be summoned on the day of hearings (Article 25, Paragraph 2 of The Rules of Juvenile Proceeding), and an attendant must be informed of that date (Article 28, Paragraph 5 of the said Rules), allowing the juvenile, his/her guardian and the attendant to express their views at the hearings on permission of the presiding judge (Article 30 of the said Rules). In addition, the presiding judge may permit the juvenile's relatives, teachers and other persons recognized as appropriate to be present at the hearings (Article 29 of the said Rules). As the hearing is, in this way, to be conducted cordially in a relaxed and warm atmosphere (Article 22, Paragraph 1 of the Juvenile Law), attention is paid to ensure that the juvenile and his/her guardian, etc., can to make statements in a tree atmosphere. There are provisions for recording the summary of the statement made by the juvenile and others, assuming that juveniles, etc., are afforded opportunities to express their views (Article 12 and items 4 and 5, Article 33, Paragraph 2 of the said Rules), thereby opportunities hear to views of the child are ensured. If a juvenile commits a crime, under the Juvenile Law and other laws, every case is passed on to a Family Court dealing with protective procedures for consider action of whether to take protective measures or not. If the person in question is 14 years of age or older at the time of the crime and commits an offense punishable by death, imprisonment with labor or without labor and it is judged appropriate for him/her to be tried under the criminal measure, the case shall be transferred to undergo criminal procedures. The Code of Criminal Procedure also stipulates that the accused and the counsel shall be afforded the opportunity to make a statement on the defendant's case in the opening procedures and that the accused and the counsel may state their views upon completion of the examination of evidence. Furthermore, in the event that the accused makes a statement voluntarily, the judge may require the defendant's statement at any time.
(2) Stating views as the injured party In a juvenile hearings, the Juvenile Law was amended partly in 2000 to prescribe that in a case involving a criminal juvenile or any juvenile under 14 years of age who is alleged to have violated any criminal law or ordinance, a Family Court shall listen to, or make a Family Court Probation Officer listen to the victim or his/her legal representative, or his/her spouse, lineal relations, or siblings in the event that the victim dies with a proposal by any of these people for a statement of sentiment on the injury and other views on the incident (Article 9-2 of the Juvenile Law). In the proceedings of criminal actions, the Code of Criminal Procedure was amended partly in 2000 to prescribe that, when the victim or his/her legal representative (his/her spouse, lineal relation, or a sibling in the event that the injured party dies) proposes to make a statement of sentiment on the injury and other views on the defendant's case, the Court shall permit the views to be stated on the day of a public trial (Article 292-2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure).
(Juveniles detained in correctional institutions)
128. For a juvenile detained in a correctional institution, the juvenile
concerned is afforded an opportunity for his/her opinions to be heard when
taking procedures affecting him/her, as described in paragraph 71 of the
Initial Report of Japan. Additional explanation of details of procedures of
a disciplinary action and a disciplinary punishment are as follows:
When the superintendent of the Juvenile Training School takes a disciplinary action on a juvenile, or the warden of the penal institution takes a disciplinary punishment on an inmate, pursuant to the rules of the juvenile training school based on Article 15 of the Juvenile Training School Law in the case of the former, or based on the instructions of the Minister of Justice in the case of the latter, the juvenile is informed in person of the suspected facts of the act violating the regulations, allowed to be heard during the process of inquiry, permitted to attend the place for examining the disciplinary action or the disciplinary punishment, and afforded the opportunity to plead his/her case. In the absence of the juvenile, the written plea is to be submitted, giving sufficient opportunities to plead his/her case.
(d) Information on organs and opportunities that allow a child to have a right to participate in the process of decision-making
129. In recent years, the process of drafting
policies that are extensively related to the people often involves providing
opportunities for the people to be heard directly: e.g. various councils
invite public opinions in the process of investigation and discussion; and
opportunities are always offered for expressing one's opinion to the Prime
Minister by e-mail, facsimile, etc. It is expected that a child, as part of
people, will participate actively in those opportunities to express views.
The policy fields where children are directly involved witness the permeation, among civil servants who are engaged in drafting policies, of perception that a child is a part of important interested parties, and therefore must be allowed to participate in drafting those policies.
130. The "Courses of Study," or the government guidelines for teaching, stipulate that in each stage of elementary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools, a child is to be engaged in classroom activities and extracurricular activities in the homeroom (the students of an entire class as a unit conduct activities such as forming various organizations and sharing tasks in the class through discussion and cooperation to enrich and improve the classroom life), and in pupil council or student council activities (a pupil council or student council which is composed of the students of an entire school conducts activities to enrich and improve the school life), ensuring the participation of students at each school in decision-making.
(e) Training experts in child-related matters to encourage children to express their views
131. See Paragraph 44-52.
(f) Reflection of children's views obtained from evaluation of public opinion, consultation and petition in legislature, politics, and judicial decisions
132. The Minimum Standards for Child Welfare Facilities (Ministerial Ordinance) stipulate that child welfare facilities must take necessary measures such as establishing a section in order to respond speedily and properly to the complaints from fellow residents or their guardians concerning treatment in the facilities.
133. Considering increasingly stronger demand for control on child prostitution and child pornography from within and outside the country, for example, the criticism at the First World Conference to Object to Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Child held at Stockholm against child pornography sent out from Japan and Japanese who pay for child prostitution abroad, and as well as respecting the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of Child, the Law for Punishing Acts Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and for Protecting Children was enacted for the furtherance of protection of children.