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The Health and Welfare Ministry will ask child counselors and psychiatric experts in five cities to organize teams to deal with juvenile crimes, in a trial project starting in April, ministry officials said Monday.

The teams, likely to be organized in areas where serious juvenile crimes have recently occurred, will consist of public employees on education boards and at health centers, and child counselors, who are expected to monitor delinquent children.

The local governments of Hokkaido, Saga, Aichi and Okayama prefectures have already told the ministry they will take part in the project.

The ministry also expects such counselors and psychiatric workers to be a liaison between teachers, police officers, lawyers and doctors, in helping to rehabilitate delinquent youths.

The move comes after a series of crimes police say were committed by teenagers without a reasonable or comprehensible motive.

In May, a 17-year-old boy from a mental rehabilitation facility in Saga hijacked an intercity bus during a day trip and stabbed a passenger to death.

In the same month, another 17-year-old boy stabbed a woman in Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture, simply for “the experience of killing someone.”

In June, an Okayama boy beat his mother to death at their home with a baseball bat shortly after attacking members of his high school baseball team. He was quoted by police as saying he did not want his mother to continue living as the parent of a criminal.

Bus-hijacker case

KYOTO (Kyodo) A juvenile detention house in Saga, southwestern Japan, on Monday sent a 17-year-old boy who hijacked an intercity bus in May to a medical juvenile reformatory in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture.

The boy killed one passenger and wounded five others.

A bus carrying the teen left the Saga Juvenile Classification Home around 6 a.m. bound for the Kyoto Medical Juvenile Training School, in line with a Saga family court decision handed down on Friday. At the school, he will undergo treatment and counseling to prepare for his eventual reintegration into society.

The bus arrived at the Kyoto reformatory shortly before 3 p.m. The facility’s gate was covered by a vinyl sheet after his arrival so that the teen, whose name cannot be disclosed because of his age, could not be seen.

The court said the youth would be treated for a dissociative disorder at a medical reformatory for at least five years.

Public prosecutors had demanded that the case be sent back to them so that he could be indicted and stand criminal trial as an adult.

The youth was arrested May 4 in Higashi-Hiroshima, after commandeering a Fukuoka-bound bus from Saga on the afternoon of May 3.

He fatally stabbed 68-year-old Tatsuko Tsukamoto and wounded five other passengers, two seriously.

The incident took place just hours after he was released from a national rehabilitation center in Saga Prefecture where he had been hospitalized for psychiatric problems.

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