WHITE PAPER ON YOUTH 2005 -- Part 2 Administrative Policies on Youths
Chapter 4 Measures for establishing appropriate environments for providing support
Section 1 Creating frameworks for accessible services
(Developing and securing specialists)
- The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has been promoting a human resources development program in which job counselors for youths (who are professional advisors on career decision-making and planning for working life) are being developed. In fiscal 2004, the Ministry developed necessary required abilities of personnel involved with consultation for job selection for youths (career consulting) and started a training program for to acquire these abilities at the University of Professional Ability Development. In fiscal 2005, the Ministry is continuing training programs for the said job counselors for youths, and plans to operate regional job consultation services so that people can receive professional advice easily at existing municipal facilities.
(Improving specialized institutions and consulting organizations as well as building their networks)
- The delay in social independence of youths, such as work instability and long-term dependency on their parents, present new problems. Therefore since September 2004, the Cabinet Office organized a meeting of knowledgeable people to establish comprehensive measures for supporting independence of young people and commencing studies. This meeting made a study of the cooperation between specialized agencies and consultation services to continuously support youths' independence. In March 2005, this meeting released its interim report of the discussion.
Section 2 Creating attractive schools
(Creating open schools)
- Based on official requirements for establishment of elementary schools, etc., schools are urged to undertake self-evaluations and disclose the results to guardians in order for them to achieve accountability from guardians and residents of local communities. In addition, parents and guardians are required to share any information that is considered to be important. In fiscal 2003, about 95% of public schools undertook self-evaluation and about 40% of them disclosed the results.
In response to the amendment of the law regarding the organization and operation of local authorities in charge of youth education (Law No.162 of 1956), the school management conference system (community schools) have been established to provide parents, guardians and local residents with the opportunity to participate in school operation. This system for community schools has been in operation since September 2004, and has been introduced at 19 schools as of May 2005.
Section 3 Town/village development that supports the local community
(Maintaining, revitalizing, and creating community consciousness)
- In an effort to revitalize the commitment of local communities to youth education, MEXT implements a program to assist joint efforts of schools, families and local communities for creating a safe environment for children's activities, promoting volunteering activities and providing children with various exchange opportunities to learn sports, culture, etc.
Section 4 Dealing with changes in the information/consumer environment
(Supporting acquisition of knowledge and skills according to the changes in the information /consumer environment)
- Today, economic activities in the society are more and more diversified with the introduction of high-level technologies, which often perplexes consumers facing a wide variety of products and services. Actually, reports of conflicts between consumers and businesses have been increasing in recent years. Under such circumstances, it is necessary to raise consumer understanding of the significance of having fundamental knowledge and information on commercial products/services so that they can protect themselves from ill-intentioned businesses. The Consumer Protection Fundamental Act (Law No.78 of 1968), which was amended in 2004, provides for the consumer rights to receive necessary information, and education of consumers is becoming more and more important. The 2004 amendment of the Law has introduced the fundamental plan, in which it is planned to systematize the consumer education program by the end of fiscal 2007, and that consumer education will be further promoted in accordance with that program.
(Addressing harmful environments surrounding youths)
- In an effort to protect youths from harmful information and provocative information of illegal acts on the internet, police have been strengthening controls over such information, including persuading households to utilize a filtering system to prevent exposure of youths to such information and also persuading internet service providers to take voluntary actions against them. Also, prefectural polices have been implementing cyber-crime prevention projects, in which they carry out cyber patrols by themselves or by using private services to detect and monitor any harmful information or provocative information of illegal acts on the internet.
Section 5 Promoting survey research, provision of information that is easy for youths to understand, and publicity/awareness-raising activities
- Cabinet Office has been conducting survey researches on the reality and awareness of youth, and the results have been disclosed on the internet so that they can be actively utilized by the public. It also collects and organizes both domestic and international general information concerning various research survey reports on youth and other related materials, which are accessible at the youth information center in the government office, contributing to the interests of those who are widely involved in youth issues.
- In order to promote people's understanding and cooperation with respect to the sound development of youths, relevant authorities have been conducting publicity/awareness-raising activities through such methods as setting campaign months: for example, 'Special Sound Development of Youths Month' and 'National Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Month', as well as holding seminars and symposiums, and distributing various educational pamphlets, etc.