26th CCPCJ Agenda Item 4 (Thematic discussion on comprehensive and integrated crime prevention strategies: public participation, social policies and education in support of the rule of law)


Statement by Mr. Hiroshi Inoue, Director-General, Inspection Department, Supreme Public Prosecutors Office

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson,
    I am from the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office of Japan.
    I would first like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Secretariat for their dedication in preparing for this Commission.

Mr. Chairperson,
    I believe many of you here hold the impression that Japan is a very safe country.
    But in fact, until 2002, there was an upward trend in the number of reported criminal cases like many other countries.
    Also, atrocious crimes where civilians were brutally murdered by offenders with previous convictions occurred which heightened concern among the public.
And to this day, the rate of reconvicted offenders going back to prison keeps rising.
    In light of such circumstances, in order to combat crime, we became aware that tackling reoffending is of the paramount and the government, local authorities and the private sector have been working together to promote measures to tackle reoffending.

Mr. Chairperson,
    To tackle reoffending, we have been focusing on the following four measures.
    The first is providing guidance and support tailored to meet the needs of the offender.
    Because the cause of crime is manifold, rehabilitation of offenders need to be tailored to meet his or her situation.
    For example, in Japan, if the offender is a juvenile, officers of juvenile training schools and probation offices will be taking into account the juvenile’s situation and condition such as criminal records, family conditions and any developmental disabilities, and they cooperate with each other by sharing such information in order to formulate specific methods of treatment.
    Such efforts have proved to be effective in rehabilitating juveniles.
    The second point is providing housing and jobs. Since offenders are more likely to reoffend when they are isolated and unable to reintegrate back into society, it is important to provide them with houses and jobs after their release from correctional institutions.
    Thus, the Ministry of Justice is working in conjunction with local governments and private sectors who is willing to assist in the provision of houses and jobs for offenders in need.
    The third point is conducting research and analysis. It is crucial to understand the realities of reoffending and to assess the effectiveness of the implemented measures in order to formulate effective policies.
For example, the Ministry of Justice has conducted research and analysis on reoffending sex offenders and the effectiveness of special rehabilitation programs and publicized the results in order for it to be used in future policy making.
    Finally, the fourth point is fostering public understanding. In order to prevent reoffending, society must be ready to accept offenders back into their community rather than exclude them, and therefore, it is vital that public understand the importance of accepting offenders.
    To this end, the Ministry of Justice is engaged in public relation campaigns to permeate the importance of tackling reoffending.
    Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice endeavors to strengthen the Volunteer Probation Officer system, where private citizens collaborate with probation officers to supervise offenders on probation and assist their rehabilitation.

Mr. Chairperson,
    In conclusion, I would like to note that Japan’s efforts to tackle reoffending is highlighted by providing advice and support to offenders as well as collaboration between government and citizens in the social reintegration of offenders.
Especially in the context of public-private cooperation, we have not only Volunteer Probation Officers, but also many other private organizations and individuals who provide guidance and support to offenders and they act as bridges connecting offenders with their community, enabling community based rehabilitation.
Our culture of lawfulness rooted in our society also makes such activities possible.
As a result of such efforts, the percentage of offenders returning to prison within two years from release has declined from around 20 per cent in 2012 to around 18 per cent in 2017.
    We believe we need to continue assisting offenders in their efforts to rebuild their lives as well as accepting them as responsible members of society.

Mr. Chairperson,
    The Doha Declaration decided that Japan will host the Fourteenth Congress in 2020.
    We wish that all distinguished delegates attending the next Congress will experience the safety of our country.

    Thank you very much for your kind attention.