Source: (1994) In: B. Galaway and J. Hudson (eds.), Restorative Justice: International Perspectives. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press, pp. 349-372.

This essay considers some restorative features of the Japanese criminal justice system. Japan is the only industrialized country, other than Korea, in which crime rates during the past half century have declined. This may be because Japanese officials and culture reinforce values of confession, repentance, forgiveness, and leniency. The Japanese approach is not fully explained by cultural differences with Western societies; the values of confession, repentance, and forgiveness are also found in Western cultures. However, Western legal institutions tend to ignore these values and, instead, reinforce demands for retribution and revenge.