44 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 38: 1 2018]
juveniles to stay integrated in the community, mitigates the stigmatizing effects of being associated
with the system and provides an anchor in the juvenile’s own community.
Japan’s volunteer probation officer program is not without its own problems. Professor
Hiroko Goto points out that “professional or volunteer, probation officers are not experts at
‘curing’ repeat offenders, let alone helping addicts forswear their entrenched habits.” 54 Japan has
attempted to address this gap in efficacy by extending probation periods for juveniles and adults
with the hope that “better surveillance” will deter drug use, as addicts receive treatment. 55 The
challenges facing Japan’s volunteer program present another possibility to look to their trans-Pacific partner, the United States, for ideas. The State of Connecticut has a well-developed juvenile
probation program, one that assigns juveniles to specialized officers, and allows a level of legal
creativity not apparent in Japan. 56 For instance, a low-risk youth may be placed with an officer
who specializes in supervising these youths, a youth with drug addiction may have an officer who
is empowered to seek additional resources for the youth, or female youth may be placed in a
gender-specific parole supervision program. 57 Japan would do well to look to these layers of
supportive probation while maintaining their system’s community integrative focus.
No system of juvenile justice or probation is without shortcomings. Japan’s focus on
community integrative care may come at the expense of real punitive measures or professionals
equipped to handle cases with specialized demographics, such as drug offenders. The United States
may face criticism for having a punitive approach to juvenile probation that often removes
juveniles from communities and imposes sanctions that do not consider the juvenile’s community
and its resources. Both countries have unique approaches and challenges that are based on culture,
media, public pressure, and the complexities of the country’s youth. It is time for both to once
again look to each other for guidance, and Part IV will explore areas where that conversation may
IV. Moving Towards Real Justice – Recommendations for Trans-Pacific Exchange and
Both Japan and the United States face real challenges when it comes to addressing the
problems of juvenile crime. As Jessica Hardung points out in her article, Japanese Juvenile Justice,
waves of juvenile crime in both countries have led to limits on pre-disposition resources and
rehabilitative dispositions. 58 Hardung states that the Japanese system would do well to avoid the
procedural formalities that have caused “an unfortunate departure from the central purpose of
rehabilitation” in the United States. 59 Hardung is correct in pointing out that the United States has
introduced these so-called formalities, such as the right to be represented by counsel and the right
to confront witnesses. 60 However, these rights operate more to protect juveniles at the disposition
54 Tomohiro Osaki, Volunteer Probation Officers Face Uphill Battle, JAPAN TIMES, (Aug. 28, 2013),
56 CONN. JUD. BRANCH, Court Support Services Division (Apr. 18, 2017), https://www.jud.ct.gov/cssd/juvprob.htm.
57 Id.; Richard A. Mendel, Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut: How Collaboration and Commitment Have
Improved Public Safety and Outcomes for Youth, JUST. POL’Y INST. 23 (Feb. 27, 2013),
58 Hardung, supra note 34, at 161.
59 Id. at 162.
60 Id. at 154.