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Apology and Pardon: Learning from Japan

Haley, John O
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) American Behavioral Scientist 41(6): 842-967.

The author seeks to investigate particular elements of Japanese culture that may have contributed to the country’s success in reducing crime rates since World War II. In particular, he argues that the fundamental importance of apology and pardon helps to explain this phenomenon. But despite the apparently unique role of apology and repentance in Japanese culture, the author argues that these concepts, although perhaps more readily evident in Japan, are also present to a degree in American communities. He believes that through a consideration of Japan, the United States can learn to incorporate these ideas into American criminal justice. Finally, the author points out the preliminary success of experimental programs in the United States that seek to incorporate the ideas of apology and pardon.


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