Since the mid-nineties, youth crime in Japan is said to be on the rise. As one of various reasons, the reportedly growing opportunities for deviant behaviour (such as telephone clubs) are frequently mentioned. Indeed, Japanese youth is equipped with more time and public spaces in which undesired behaviour may occur. How do police, justice, family courts and volunteer organisations react? To which degree do they revise their policy, e.g. creating "places to be" (ibasho) for Japanese youth? A closer view on the recent changes (enacted 2001) of then juvenile law and the "strong-but-soft" (tsuyoku yasashii) police guideline of 1996, as well as the actual activities of youth police and the affiliated volunteers shall present some answers to these questions.
Dr. Manuel Metzler has worked on prevention in Japanese middle schools and on so-called problematic juvenile behaviour in general, in a Japanese-German comparative perspective. He is currently a JSPS fellow at Daito Bunka Daigaku in Tokyo.