Youths today are increasingly committing violent crimes “spontaneously” or as part of groups that lack deep associations or friendship, according to a midterm report compiled by the Justice Ministry’s Correction Bureau.

The report, presented Monday to an advisory panel on juvenile education that advises the prime minister, is partly based on three meetings held in March and April by officials of juvenile correctional facilities, including psychiatrists.

The spontaneous crimes, often referred to in Japanese as “kireru (to snap off),” seem to represent the youths’ desire to assert themselves, the report pointed out, adding that the “violence is not just directed at victims, but is an act that reflects (the youths’) consciousness of other people’s perceptions of them.”

In addition, the report says the results of a questionnaire handed out to 93 teenagers at juvenile detention facilities showed more than 90 percent of them own beepers or cellular phones. Of the youths who responded to the questionnaire, 32 percent replied they became accidentally involved in crimes after being called in by friends through these devices, the report says.

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