The ruling coalition on Thursday reached a final agreement on a draft of a bill that will revise the Juvenile Law to reduce the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 14.
The bill will also require family courts to send to public prosecutors any suspects aged 16 or older accused of crimes including murder, inflicting injuries resulting in death, robbery resulting in death or rape resulting in death, ruling party officials said.
The Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party plan to submit the bill at the outset of an extraordinary Diet session to convene Sept. 21, after the House of Representatives’ Legislative Bureau formulates it based on the draft, they said.
The ruling coalition’s task force on juvenile issues agreed to continue discussing whether to release the names of juveniles held on suspicion of committing such crimes, they said.
According to the draft, public prosecutors would be able to intervene in family court proceedings in cases in which the accused juveniles could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment — but only if the family court allows their involvement.
Family courts would be able to hold juveniles at detention facilities for observation for eight weeks, according to the draft.
The bill would allow a judge or a family court inspector to question — although not directly — the victim or victims of a crime allegedly committed by a juvenile.
It would also allow a victim or victims to read or make a photocopy of trial records even during the trial, except for the personal background of the juvenile.
The victim or victims would be allowed access to the trial records only when they need the records to seek compensation.
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