National Youth Development Policy

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6. Basic Direction of Measures for Establishing an Appropriate Environment for Providing Support

The following measures will be implemented to establish an environment for effectively implementing the measures by age group and the measures on youth under specific circumstances.


(1) Creating frameworks for accessible services
(i) Developing and securing specialists
(Medical and health care specialists)

While promoting survey research on the securing and development of pediatricians and obstetricians, a new clinical training system will be operated in which all trainee doctors receive training on basic medical skills related to children's diseases by making pediatrics a compulsory subject.

Comprehensive measures will be implemented to secure nursing staff including hygienists and midwives, such as preventing them from leaving their jobs, supporting their reemployment, securing training abilities, and improving their quality.

In order to develop medical specialists who have excellent communication skills and can practice patient-centered medical care, efforts will be made toward improving each university's curriculums to that end.


(Child welfare specialists)

Endeavors will be made to secure necessary staff at child welfare facilities and child guidance centers, such as nursery teachers, as well as to upgrade their training and improve their skills.


(Teachers)

Systemic measures will be implemented throughout the respective stages of educating, appointing, and training teachers based on the educational personnel certification system in order to secure teachers who have a sense of mission, strong fields, individualities, and the capability to appropriately deal with the problems at the job site. In particular, teachers will be trained according to their respective abilities by the system of training teachers who have at least ten years of experience, which became obligated from fiscal 2003.


(Specialists on the psychology of children and adolescents)

Education and training for specialists who can deal with the mental health of children and adolescents will be provided to doctors, hygienists, nurses, mental health welfare professionals, and clinical psychologists.

Psychological specialists at correctional institutions will be provided with a variety of training and more opportunities to acquire practical experience in treating general outpatients in order to improve their skills.


(Specialists on juvenile guidance and treatment of juvenile delinquents)

Efforts will be made to secure staff in charge of juvenile guidance and to improve their quality by upgrading the training systems. In addition, specialists on counseling service for juveniles will be developed.

The training programs for specialists in treatment of juvenile delinquents will be further improved, by developing renewed training materials in order to enhance their ability to instruct.


(Career consultants (persons who provide consultation on job selection and designing future work styles))

The requirements of abilities for people who provide specialized career consulting (specialized consultation on job selection and designing of future work styles) to young people will be clarified and their development will be promoted.


(ii) Securing and training private cooperators including young and late middle-aged generations
(Securing and training private cooperators)

Information on volunteer probation officers, human rights volunteers (particularly, volunteers for children's rights protection), and child committee members will be publicized and active approaches will be made to the organizations concerned, such as local governments, in order to secure such personnel from wide-ranging generations and fields, while their training will also be improved.

The roles of the private cooperators commissioned by local governments, such as maternal and child health promoters and volunteers in charge of giving guidance to juveniles, will be publicized in order to secure such personnel from wide-ranging generations, while their training will also be improved.

Information on the foster parent system will be publicized in order to secure more foster parents, while training programs and support systems for foster parents will also be improved.


(Peer consultation and support)

Since peer consultation and support activities are effective on youth, specialized institutions and consulting organizations will secure private cooperators of young generations and provide support so as to enable implementation of such activities.


(iii) Improving specialized institutions and consulting organizations as well as building their networks
(Improving specialized institutions and consulting organizations)

In order to gain local people's confidence in the specialized institutions and consulting organizations in the respective fields of medical care, health care, welfare, education, labor, and delinquency issues, and to provide high-quality services according to needs, offer of information, evaluation based on the characteristics of the organizations, and improvement of the frameworks will be promoted.


(Coordination between specialized institutions and consulting organizations according to cases)

Network-building will be promoted, creation of emergency-response systems will be supported, and efforts will be made toward holding liaison meetings among specialized institutions and consulting organizations that target different people and are established by different bodies so that they can promptly and appropriately coordinate with each other as well as with private cooperators and local people as required according to different case types, such as child-raising support, promotion of volunteering activities, job assistance, prevention of becoming victims of crimes, measures against delinquency, and measures against child abuse.


(Establishing and improving comprehensive contact points for initial consultation and support)

In order to have the appropriate organization among the diverse specialized institutions and consulting organizations provide support according to the content of consultation on various problems and concerns by youth and their families, comprehensive contact points for initial consultation and support will be established and improved with the cooperation of local governments and private bodies.


(Promoting mutual support activities)

Efforts will be made to have people facing the same concerns and difficulties, such as parents raising children, youth with disabilities and their families, and youth in a state of social maladjustment and their families, support each other by sharing their own experiences, exchanging information, and learning together through community activities or activities of nonprofit organizations.


(2) Creating attractive schools
(Creating open schools)

In order for schools to gain the confidence of youth, their parents, and local people, as well as to improve their educational activities and other aspects of school management, schools' efforts to conduct self-evaluation on the status of their management and to actively provide information including the evaluation results will be promoted, while school evaluation will be promoted with the possibility of publishing external evaluation results. In addition, establishment and utilization of school councilors will be promoted in order to reflect the opinions of parents and local people in school management.


(Promotion of diverse educational activities and school selectability)

With the aim of creating schools with distinctive characters, schools' efforts to conduct diverse educational activities will be promoted, and selectable education will be achieved.

School education will be activated by seeking cooperation from people and companies outside school and gaining their support and assistance in classes and career guidance.

Schools will be encouraged to develop creative curriculums by achieving wide recognition of the fact that the annual number of class hours can be flexibly decided according to each school's discretion, and necessary measures will be implemented based on deliberation in the Central Council for Education.

Collaborative efforts of elementary schools and lower secondary schools will be promoted, such as expanding subject-based teacher assignment in the higher grades of elementary school, in order to moderate the changes in the educational environment between elementary schools and lower secondary schools and to allow consistent and continuous teaching. Furthermore, establishment of unified lower and upper secondary schools will be promoted so as to provide opportunities to learn under consistent curriculums and studying environments throughout the six years corresponding to the lower secondary school and upper secondary school.

Practical research will be conducted for clarifying the potentials and problems of a new type of public school in which the local community participates in its management (community school), and consideration will be made as to establishment of the system.

Efforts will be made to individualize schools by promoting more flexible school districts based on the local circumstances and parents' intentions and allowing youth and parents to choose schools.

Consideration will be made in the Central Council for Education on entrusting comprehensive management and administration of public schools to the private sector. In particular, from the viewpoint of responding to such special needs as the education of dropouts from upper secondary schools and human resources development combining practical business and education, a conclusion will be reached on introducing a system of privately running public schools with respect to correspondence and day/evening courses of upper secondary schools by the end of fiscal 2003.


(Improving frameworks and functions)

In order to appropriately evaluate the abilities and performance of teachers and to reflect that evaluation in their allocation and treatment, actions will be promoted to establish new teacher evaluation systems in the boards of education of all prefectures and government-designated cities by fiscal 2006. Efforts will also be made to enhance individually targeted teaching.

For the purpose of improving the consultation functions in schools, the quality of teachers will be improved and allocation of school counselors will be promoted.


(Ensuring safety management)

Schools' safety management efforts in close coordination with families, local people, and organizations concerned will be continuously promoted. Schools will be well informed and will ensure the safety of pupils and students in school when opening the school facilities to the public.


(3) Town/village development that supports the local community
(Maintaining, revitalizing, and creating community consciousness)

In order to develop interest and solidarity among the local people, including the youth, residents' independent activities to foster community consciousness will be promoted, such as establishment of a municipal master plan, town development by elementary school district, and activities to make use of residents' lifelong learning in town development. In particular, efforts will be made to create opportunities not only for adults, but also for youth to participate in these activities.


(Establishing a high-quality housing/residential environment that helps in child-raising)

In order to help child-raising households find sufficient space in which to live, utilization of loan systems and a supply of high-quality housing for households will be promoted, while preferential leasing of housing to households with many children will be adopted for public housing.

Furthermore, measures will be taken to make workplaces and residences closer, such as promoting residence in urban centers and creating compact cities where such various functions as residence, commerce, welfare, and education accumulate. At the same time, integrated establishment of housing and child-raising support facilities, such as nursing schools, will be promoted.


(Establishing an environment where people can go out with assurance)

Measures will be promoted to make public facilities, such as roads, parks, and government buildings, public transport, buildings and traffic lights barrier-free, so that all people including pregnant women and people with infants or toddlers can feel comfortable and assured when going out. With regard to road traffic, in particular, area-based and comprehensive accident prevention measures will be implemented for the "Safe Pedestrian Areas" that are designated as areas accounting for high rates of fatal traffic accidents.

In addition, toilets that are accessible to people with infants or toddlers will be increased in public facilities and information on barrier-free facilities will be provided to child-raising families.


(Developing towns in which youth do not easily become victims of crimes)

While promoting the establishment of security equipment and improvement of structure/equipment in public facilities, such as roads, parks, and apartment complexes, measures will be taken to create a safe and secure living environment, such as improving the security performance of such building parts as windows, doors, and shutters.

Also, local security activities on the initiative of residents will be supported, such as securing emergency refugee areas for youth with the cooperation of private homes and stores along school-commuting routes and their surroundings.


(Creating recreation spots for youth and their families)

Urban parks, community sport facilities, large-scale bicycle roads, and wide-area tourist guide boards for specific areas will be created, comprehensive community sport clubs will be organized and school facilities will be opened to the public as places where youth can enjoy nature, play in groups, and engage in sports and recreational activities with friends or with their families.

Water areas, such as those near rivers and irrigation channels, and forests will be conserved and maintained as playgrounds or places for environmental study and nature activities for youth, while activities with the cooperation of the whole community will be promoted.


(4) Dealing with changes in the information/consumption environment
(i) Supporting acquisition of knowledge and skills according to the changes in the information/consumption environment
(Improving the ability to utilize media)

Measures will be promoted for youth to acquire and improve their ability to independently select and send out information through such information access means as computers and the Internet, while recognizing the usability and roles of information and the impact of digitization (media literacy). Schools will have youth learn how to utilize computers as well as develop information morals in them through various educational activities.


(Consumer education)

In order to prevent youth from becoming involved in consumer problems, consumer education materials for youth and videos and pamphlets introducing vicious business practices will be developed, produced, and distributed to upper secondary schools and consumer centers. At the same time, a system for providing information on educational materials to teachers via the Internet will be developed so as to enhance consumer education for youth.


(ii) Addressing the harmful environment surrounding youth
(Measures against harmful information provided through various media)

In order to promote strict voluntary restraints by related industry associations and operators with regard to harmful information provided through various media, requests will be made to make voluntary efforts in consideration of the development of youth, taking into account the characteristics of the respective media. In addition, requests will be made to companies by way of economic organizations to give consideration to the development of youth when advertising or supporting events or programs through the respective media.

While supporting the efforts of private bodies, such as surveys, information will be provided to parents regarding the voluntary efforts and self-regulatory organizations of the industries concerned.

Furthermore, such harmful information will be regulated by relevant laws and ordinances, while efforts of local governments will be promoted through offer of reference materials.


(Addressing illegal/harmful information on the Internet)

With the aim of allowing youth to easily select information with safe content on the Internet, measures to establish an environment for safe use and provision of Internet services will be promoted and awareness-raising activities will be conducted for parents.

In order to deal with illegal/harmful information, such as violent or sexually explicit information, on the Internet, the significance and usage of filtering services (a system that limits access to specific harmful websites when using the Internet) will be actively publicized through websites so as to promote their diffusion. In addition, studies will be conducted with respect to a diffusion of filtering services for dating sites and sites related to "suicide" and "discrimination," and support will be provided to their technological development. Moreover, studies will be conducted toward realizing a filtering function for mobile terminals, such as mobile phones.

For the purpose of protecting children from crimes deriving from use of dating sites, acts of persuading children to become a sex partner through Internet matchmaking services will be more actively regulated based on the recently enacted "Law Controlling Dating Service Websites." At the same time, measures will be promoted for preventing the use of Internet matchmaking services by children through publicity and awareness-raising activities toward citizens and by approaching service providers.

Improvement of criminal substantive law will be considered to properly address acts of sending child pornography data and obscene data via the Internet.


(Healthy operation of amusement business and control of sex-related business)

Necessary guidance will be provided to amusement businesses based on the "Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement Business," and efforts will be made toward strictly regulating acts that affect the sound development of youth under 18. In addition, acts of sex-related businesses that violate the laws and ordinances concerned will be strictly regulated.


(Preventing the sales of alcohol and tobacco to minors)

Stronger actions will be taken to the industries concerned in order to eradicate the environment in which minors can easily access alcohol and tobacco. Moreover, necessary investigations will be held and proper dispositions will be given to acts of selling alcohol and tobacco with full awareness that they will be consumed by minors.


(5) Promoting survey research, provision of information that is easy for youth to understand, and publicity/awareness-raising activities
(Survey research)

In order to fully utilize objective and extensive information when planning, drawing out, and implementing measures for the development of youth, and to widely share a precise recognition of facts among citizens, survey research will be promoted on the actual status and awareness of youth with respect to physical and mental conditions, academic abilities, growth environment, delinquency, and accomplishment of social independence.

Particular effort will be made to conduct nationwide basic surveys that are used for year-on-year comparisons and mid- to long-term longitudinal surveys that are indispensable for analyzing the impacts of various factors on the growth of youth. Also, interdisciplinary survey research will be enhanced, considering that the sound development of youth involves wide-ranging fields.

Furthermore, the results of the implemented survey research will be published by diverse means so that they will be actively utilized, and an appropriate environment will be established to allow speedy and smooth retabulation and reanalysis of the survey data.


(Providing information that is easy for youth to understand)

Information for youth will be provided through websites and pamphlets in order to make various information more accessible and easier to understand for youth.


(Publicity/awareness-raising activities)

In order to promote people's understanding and cooperation with respect to the sound development of youth, such as child-raising support, improvement of physical strength, respect for youth's human rights, delinquency prevention and rehabilitation, and crime prevention, publicity/awareness-raising activities will be conducted by such methods as setting campaign months. In addition, publicity/awareness-raising activities will be conducted on the "Convention on the Rights of Children" to spread accurate knowledge.

When conducting publicity/awareness-raising activities, consideration will be given to include the viewpoint of "Placing more emphasis on the self-motivation for youth" and "Developing a social climate that allows candid discussions" stated in "3. Priority Issues." While using media that allow an appropriate communication of information to targeted people, efforts will be made to conduct effective awareness-raising activities through participation of people in extensive segments, such as youth, general citizens, people involved in the development of youth, private bodies, and local governments.

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