National Youth Development Policy
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5. Basic Direction of Measures for Youth Under Specific Circumstances
The following measures will be implemented for youth in disadvantageous positions due to various circumstances, as well as youth who require special support.
(1) Supporting youth with disabilities
(Supporting youth with disabilities)
While preventing handicaps and promoting early discovery and early rehabilitation, home services will be improved so that youth with disabilities can live in a familiar community with a sense of reassurance.
In order to provide detailed support according to the needs of individual youths with disabilities, consistent and organized education will be provided from the infant phase until after graduating from school.
Guidelines will be formulated for establishing a framework for providing effective consultation services in the communities by fiscal 2004 and establishment of such framework will be promoted based on these guidelines.
In order to change schools for children with visual-impairments, hearing-impairments, and other disabilities into schools that play a central role in special support education in the community, a conclusion will be drawn on the study of the systems during fiscal 2003 and necessary measures will be implemented.
(Supporting youth with Learning Disabilities (LD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD))
In order to prevent maladjustment that could occur secondarily to such developmental problems as LD, ADHD, and autism, efforts will be made for early discovery through infant checkups; appropriate consultation and guidance will also be provided through the diffusion of a health guidance handbook among other measures so that families and schools can respond to the situation appropriately.
Appropriate educational support will be provided according to the problems youth face. In addition, guidelines will be formulated for establishing a framework for providing educational support in elementary and lower secondary schools, and the establishment will be promoted based on these guidelines.
A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and clinical studies based on evidence will be conducted on the diagnostic criteria and treatment methods of ADHD, which would suit the situation in Japan, and utilization of the study results will be promoted.
(2) Supporting single-parent families, etc.
In order to allow single-parent families to feel secure in raising children while maintaining a career, frameworks for supporting their child-raising and daily life will be improved, such as increasing temporary child-care services at children's institutions and other facilities and improving support through housework helpers.
Various support measures will be taken to enable mothers of mother-child families to support themselves by finding jobs that suit their family environments and their aptitudes/abilities.
For the purpose of achieving economic stability in single-parent families, including financing for children's educational expenses, such financial support as loans for welfare for mother-child families, child-care allowances, and survivor's pensions of the public pension system will be provided, while strengthening the consultation frameworks and promoting awareness-raising activities on children's educational expenses.
Measures for economically challenged families will be strengthened so that municipal welfare offices, in coordination with related organizations, can detect them more quickly. And when municipal welfare offices find that the minimum standards of living cannot be maintained even after all assets and abilities are used, they will extend necessary assistance also from the viewpoint of youth educational support.
In order to allow ambitious and competent students to study peacefully without worrying about economical matters, efforts will be made to enrich supporting measures such as scholarships.
(Children who need care and protection)
In order to raise children who have no parents or who are not appropriately protected by their parents in a favorable environment, their treatment in children's institutions will be improved, such as through downsizing the groups of children who are supervised and supported and improving assistance to abused children. Diffusion and utilization of the foster parent system in which children are raised in a family-like environment will also be promoted, and efforts will be made to strengthen the support systems for foster parents.
(3) Addressing maladjustment to society, including juvenile delinquency
(i) Measures against juvenile delinquency
(Comprehensive efforts on measures against juvenile delinquency)
Measures against juvenile delinquency will be improved and strengthened through coordination among related ministries and agencies, taking into consideration the serious situation of juvenile delinquency in recent years, such as the increasing number of juvenile Penal Code offenders and the still high number of juvenile felonious offenders. To this end, while promoting extensive studies on measures against juvenile delinquency in general, including organizational, institutional and legal issues, comprehensive, long-term measures will be taken against juvenile delinquency, such as continuous survey research on juvenile delinquency cases with the cooperation of such related organizations as police, schools, correctional institutions, probation offices, and homes for juvenile training and education as well as provision of empirical and scientific information based on development of actual model measures for delinquency prevention.
(Preventing delinquency, creating opportunities and places for diverse activities, and conducting consultation activities)
Delinquency prevention classes and drug abuse prevention classes for students will be held for preventing juvenile delinquency, while promoting measures for creating opportunities and places for diverse activities in coordination with local people. Appropriate advice and support will also be provided to parents of juvenile delinquents and juveniles who have various worries by creating an accessible consultation environment at consulting organizations. Furthermore, in the local community, organizations, in cooperation with each other, will provide appropriate support to foreign youth living in Japan who have various kinds of lifestyles and backgrounds.
With the cooperation of homes, schools, and the local community, the guidance activities on streets that are conducted through coordination among the organizations concerned will be strengthened by taking measures to increase the number of private volunteers and legally clarifying the authority and procedures of guidance activities in local ordinances and other laws. Also, when necessary, continuous guidance will be provided to juveniles through consultations with them. In particular, continuous guidance will be provided to juvenile drug abusers to support their early rehabilitation.
(Building support frameworks for coordination among the people concerned)
Frameworks will be built to allow the organizations concerned to share information on juveniles and deal with problems in coordination with each other. Particular effort will be made to further promote measures for the organizations concerned to form support teams appropriate to the nature of the problems of juveniles, and the activities of the existing organizations such as the "school-police liaison councils" and the "centers for youth guidance" will be encouraged.
Furthermore, such measures as legislative improvements will be discussed as required in order to share information among the organizations concerned, promote the formation of support teams, and vitalize the activities.
(Investigating and processing cases)
Efforts will be made to strictly deal with vicious cases, and prompt and precise investigations of cases will be promoted, paying attention to rehabilitation of the juveniles while giving them an awareness of their wrong-doing.
Endeavors will be made to uncover the entire truth of each case through necessary investigation, and appropriate materials for making determinations will be provided to family courts. When a family court decides that the public prosecutor should intervene in the proceedings, the public prosecutor will provide necessary cooperation for fair determination of facts.
In order to conduct in-depth fact-finding and thereby provide appropriate support, a legislative improvement will be considered for clarifying the authority of police organizations to carry out necessary administrative inquiries for cases of juveniles under the age of 14 who have broken penal law. Also, there will be a study on how open search should be conducted for juvenile cases, taking into account protection of the human rights of juveniles and the need for investigations.
At the same time, there will also be a study on how petty juvenile cases should be processed from the viewpoint of contribution to the sound development of juveniles.
(Treatment in institutions)
The systems of juvenile training schools and juvenile prisons will be upgraded and correctional education for juvenile delinquents will be improved. In particular, more individualized treatment will be promoted, such as gaining an understanding of the problems of individual juveniles and creating treatment plans according to their respective characteristics and needs.
From the viewpoint of providing options for treatment necessary for the rehabilitation of individual juveniles according to their circumstances, amendment of the "Juvenile Training School Law" will be considered to allow the option of the protective measure to send the juvenile to a juvenile training school when it has been judged necessary and reasonable to provide correctional education at an early stage, even for juvenile offenders under 14.
For the purpose of supporting the self-reliance of juveniles so that they can smoothly adapt to society, efforts will be made in the home for juvenile training and education to strengthen the guidance capacity by increasing the allocation of expert staff and to provide guidance that better conforms to the circumstances of individual juveniles.
(Rehabilitation service and self-reliance support)
The effectiveness of probationary/parole supervision will be enhanced for the juveniles for whom provision of such supervision is difficult, by actively implementing various measures such as direct approaches made by probation officers; and effectual treatment will be given to them according to their respective characteristics and problems. In addition, institutional measures will be considered for ensuring that juveniles under probationary supervision comply with the conditions and for providing them with more effective guidance.
Active and comprehensive support measures will be promptly implemented for the activities of volunteer probation officers and other volunteers who cooperate in rehabilitation service, including consideration of how to coordinate with volunteer groups and select volunteer probation officers as well as measures to improve their training. At the same time, halfway houses and self-reliance support facilities (services for supporting independence among juveniles) will be reinforced in order to support juveniles who have difficulty returning to their homes after leaving those homes for juvenile training and education.
In order to help juvenile delinquents rehabilitate and permanently refrain from delinquency in the local community, diverse rehabilitation support measures will be provided through coordination among the organizations concerned, schools, private cooperators, and local people, such as creating opportunities and places for various activities.
(Improving and diversifying the overall treatments)
Participation of juveniles under probationary/parole supervision in community services and nature activities will be promoted while diversifying the activity locations and content according to the characteristics of the juveniles and the circumstances of the communities. Furthermore, a scheme will be considered for having juveniles participate in community services by orders in the process of executing protective measures, while ascertaining the implementation status of the above activities and the status of the activity environment, such as the receiving facilities.
In the process of treating perpetrators, their efforts toward improving their relationship with the victims, including apologies, will be supported according to the situation of the individual cases, while the possibility of applying restorative justice activities to Japan will also be considered.
(Approaching the families of juvenile delinquents)
While strengthening the efforts of the organizations involved with juvenile delinquents in adjusting family relationships and re-educating parents (such as consultation and guidance), the effects of such efforts will be verified to consider whether it is appropriate to have a system to intervene when parents do not respond to such approaches, to ensure the effectiveness of those measures.
In order to prevent the parents of juvenile delinquents from becoming isolated and to prevent the problems of those families from worsening, support will be provided to volunteer organizations that help those families squarely face and cope with the fact of delinquency.
(Measures against bullying and school violence)
Guidance in schools to cultivate moral consciousness, improvement of educational counseling frameworks, appropriate use of school suspension systems in elementary and lower secondary schools, and creation of support systems in the community, such as support teams jointly formed by schools and organizations concerned, will be promoted in order to dramatically reduce bullying and acts of violence.
In addition, efforts will be made to identify and resolve cases deriving from bullying and cases of school violence, and appropriate treatment will be given to juveniles who have created such incidents to prevent recurrence.
(Measures against delinquent groups)
In order to weaken and dissolve delinquent groups, such as motorcycle gangs, efforts will be made to expose cases involving those groups, to control the organized crime groups that support delinquent groups, and to prevent juveniles from joining them as well as to support those members leaving such groups. In particular, comprehensive measures will be taken against motorcycle gangs.
(Consideration to victims)
From the viewpoint of giving consideration to victims, efforts will be made to offer appropriate information in response to the request of the victims, while paying attention to the privacy of the juvenile offenders, the impact on their sound development, and the nature of the cases.
(ii) School non-attendance, social withdrawal, and eating disorders
(Addressing mental problems of youth)
In order to address mental problems that are frequently observed in elementary school-age children and adolescents, such as school non-attendance, social withdrawal, eating disorders, and sexually deviant behavior, the consultation services in specialized institutions will be improved. Moreover, greater efforts will be made to discover the problems at an early stage and to respond appropriately to individual needs through coordination with the organizations concerned.
(Measures against school non-attendance and social withdrawal)
In order to deal with school non-attendance at an early stage and to provide detailed community-based measures including support to youth who are apt to withdraw and their families, establishment of local networks for assisting their return to school will be promoted.
Furthermore, guidelines for providing more appropriate consultation services will be diffused.
(4) Damage prevention and protection of youth
(Measures to prevent child abuse)
In order to prevent child abuse, the general child-raising support provided from immediately after birth will be improved, such as providing learning opportunities and information on home education to parents who tend to become isolated and establishing consultation frameworks. At the same time, efforts will be promoted to figure out which families pose abuse risks and to reduce those risks.
In order to discover and deal with child abuse at an early stage, the functions of the organizations dealing with those problems will be strengthened, and formation of abuse prevention networks through which wide-ranging relevant organizations and local residents cooperate in the respective municipalities will be promoted. In addition, efforts will be made toward prevention and early discovery of child abuse through investigation, guidance on streets, consultation activities, and reports from the public.
With the aim of protecting and supporting abused youth and achieving family reintegration or strengthening families' child-raising abilities, the number of facilities that are capable of providing suitable support and therapy will be increased and frameworks in which the organizations concerned can coordinate to provide long-term support to families will be established to strengthen home-based support. Moreover, methods of therapy and guidance for abused youth and for the abusive parents will be studied, developed, and diffused.
(Measures against crimes that harm the welfare of youth)
In order to prevent youth from becoming victims of crimes related to child prostitution and child pornography, the current status of sexually deviant behavior and damage from such behavior as well as various regulations will be publicized and made known to the whole society including youth and their parents, through schools and the organizations concerned. In addition, strict investigation and appropriate treatment will be made based on the relevant laws and ordinances.
Necessary approaches will be made to Internet-related business associations and film-related associations, such as achieving wide recognition of the related laws and ordinances, in order to prevent illegal acts that would harm the welfare of youth.
For the purpose of remedying and reducing the spiritual burden on the victimized youth and supporting their rehabilitation, necessary frameworks will be established and continuous support activities by expert staff will be promoted, while more joint efforts will be made among the organizations concerned, such as building networks to support victimized juveniles.
(Other measures against crimes)
In order to protect youth from crimes in the community, information will be exchanged by utilizing liaison meetings between police and school staff, joint patrol activities by the organizations concerned and private bodies will be promoted, crime prevention workshops will be held, and support will be provided to secure emergency refuge areas and to have these areas made widely known to the public. In addition, efforts for safety control in schools will be continuously promoted, such as creating crisis management manuals for schools and holding workshops that provide training on crime prevention and first-aid treatment.
Support will be provided to young victims and their parents, including appropriate advice from experts and private cooperators, as well as consultations, visits, and environmental adjustment conducted through coordination among the organizations concerned.
(Measures for victims of bullying)
Efforts will be made to prevent abuse of human rights by bullying and to achieve early discovery and relief of victims of bullying through investigations and consultation activities. In addition, detailed continuous support will be provided according to the personalities of the victimized juveniles.
(Measures for preventing disasters or accidents)
Information will be provided for preventing unexpected accidents involving infants and toddlers, and for preventing water accidents and mountain accidents involving youth. In addition, disaster prevention education and traffic safety education will be provided according to age group so that youth can avoid becoming victims of disasters and traffic accidents.
(5) Supporting youth working under disadvantageous conditions in the labor market
(Supporting job-finding for dropouts from upper secondary schools and young unemployed people)
In order to allow young people who have left school, such as dropouts from upper secondary schools and young unemployed people, to lead a stable work life and accumulate occupational skills, efforts will be made through coordination among education, employment, and industrial policies to develop them into full-fledged workers, introducing human resources development systems that combine practical business and education. In addition, while providing diverse opportunities for acquiring basic work-related abilities and developing practical occupational skills based on corporate needs, opportunities for practical education will be provided to freeters.
A system will be established for providing consistent one-on-one job-finding support to those who have yet to find a job, from job-search preparation to becoming settled in a workplace. In addition, support will be provided to young people to become motivated, to select jobs based on their interests, aptitudes, and the trends of the labor market, and to develop their abilities through consultation and provision of information by career consultants (persons who provide consultation on job selection and designing of future work styles).
The job-finding system will be improved to adapt to the current situation, where young people do not necessarily become fully employed immediately after graduation, but often become fully employed after undergoing a certain period of post-graduation job-hunting.
(Job assistance for persons with disabilities)
Efforts will be made to help persons with disabilities, including youth, achieve independence in their work life by promoting measures centering on the employment quota rate system based on the "Law for Employment Promotion, etc. of Persons with Disabilities." In addition, skill development measures will be promoted so that persons with disabilities can take vocational training in the local area according to the level of their disabilities.
(Job assistance for juvenile delinquents)
As part of the treatment in juvenile training schools and juvenile prisons, juveniles' attitudes toward work will be enhanced, their motivation to work will be stimulated, and they will be encouraged to acquire various qualifications. Moreover, support for starting work, such as consultation and provision of employment-related information, will be provided to juveniles who are scheduled to be released from juvenile training schools or juvenile prisons and unemployed juveniles under probationary/parole supervision through coordination among the organizations concerned, including correctional institutions, probation offices, and public employment security offices. Also, advice will be provided to juveniles as required after they start working.
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