1st Edition

Crime, Punishment, and the Elderly Japan and Beyond

Edited By Yoko Hosoi, Bunri Tatsuno, John Pratt Copyright 2024
    276 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Hosoi, Tatsuno and Pratt examine the realities, problems and backgrounds of crimes committed by elderly people in both Japan and international perspectives.

    Japan’s aging population is a commonly known issue globally, and the world looks to Japan to understand the issues that other nations may experience in the future. One such aspect is an increase in crimes committed by the elderly. According to the National Police Agency in Japan, the proportion of elders arrested for committing theft has doubled over the past 10 years. The chapters in this volume look to answer questions around the reason for elder crime, the types of crime and punishment that exists in this cohort of society and how this increasingly large problem in society can be managed.

    This book offers important insights into the societal issues and potential solutions for aging societies around the world. It will be a valuable research reference for scholars of mental health, criminology, population studies and Asian studies.



    Introduction: Yoko Hosoi

    1. What is the current issue: Indications by Western researchers

    2. Theoretical framework of the research: Focusing on the concept of “Lifeworld”

    3. Composition of the book

    4. Goal of the book

    Section 1: Considering the Society and Elderly Criminals

    Chapter 1. Social Circumstances Surrounding the Elderly: Twenty-year Trends: Yoko Hosoi

    1. Changes in population composition

    2. Changes in social security schemes

    3. The arrival of a society of disparities

    4. Two miscalculations pertaining to a Japanese-type welfare society

    Chapter 2. Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusion in a Post-Welfare State Society: From C. Gilligan's Perspective of "Care": Tetsu Harayama

    The problem of aging and social reintegration

    1. From the dilemma of moral norms to the relationship of support

    2. From the second modern age to the third

    3. Vulnerability and inclusion

    4. Social Inclusion of deviant individuals

    Chapter 3. The Actual Situation of Crimes by the Elderly in Japan: Based on Crime Statistics, the Ministry of Justice's Research Report, and Special Investigation: Yoko Hosoi

    1. Overview of crime statistics

    2. Picture of elderly criminals: according to a special investigation conducted by the Ministry of Justice (2013–2015)

    3. Recidivism on the part of elderly criminals

    Chapter 4. Reintegrating Elderly Criminals into the Society: From the Standpoint of Judicial Welfare: Kayo Konagai

    1. Introduction

    2. Rehabilitation process of elderly ex-criminals observed in the interview-based survey

    3. How to see elderly criminals

    4. Policy on the reintegration of elderly criminals and perpetrators into society

    5. Conclusion

    Chapter 5. Rehabilitation Process of Elderly Ex-criminals: Analysis of Interview Sessions with Elderly Ex-criminals Who Received Support at Relief and Rehabilitation Facilities: Yuzuru Kawabe

    1. Interviewee

    2. Interview methods

    3. Interviews analysis

    4. Life of elderly ex-criminals

    Chapter 6. Duplication of Social Poverty: Elderly Criminals and Homeless People: Kaoru Watanabe

    1. Post-modernity and selective relationship that becomes the mainstream in society

    2. Social poverty: Homeless people and elderly crimes

    3. Two types of support for elderly criminals: Judicial and welfare system collaboration

    4. Life history and social rehabilitation of elderly criminals: A case study

    5. Conclusions

    Section II        Characteristics of Elderly Criminals Based on Surveys on Elderly Inmates in Japan (survey conducted in 2012, 2016, and 2017)

    Chapter 1. Survey of Elderly Inmates: Outline and Results of Research on Elderly Male and Female Prisoners (2012 Survey, 2016 Survey, and 2017 Survey): Bunri Tatsuno

    1. Summary of the elderly inmate surveys (2012 Survey, 2016 Survey, and 2017 Survey)

    2. Results of and discussion concerning the 2016 survey

    3. Results of and discussion concerning the 2017 survey

    4. Summary of the “Survey of Elderly Inmates”

    Chapter 2: Typology of Elderly Male & Female Prisoners on Their Awareness: From Results of 2012 survey and Free-Answer Survey: Yoko Hosoi

    1. Four types of elderly convicts – “the 2012 survey”

    2. Through a “free-answer survey” of previous term’s elderly convicts (40 years and older)

    3. Discussion

    Chapter 3: The Needs of Restorative Justice for Senior Criminal Women in Japan: Kaoru Umezaki

    Severe punishment, medicalization, or restorative justice?

    Chapter 4: Social Position and “Self Perception” of Elder Female Inmates: Yoko Hosoi

    1. Awareness of the problem

    2. Women of the "underclass," a new class in Japanese society, as seen in the SSM survey of sociology

    3. Female prisoners and the underclass

    4. "Female prisoners" and "general female workers"

    5. Conclusions

    Section III           Trends and Issues in Elderly Crime From Around the World

    Chapter 1: Trends in Crimes Committed by the Elderly and Laws regarding “Sexual Crimes” in New Zealand: Masaharu Senzu

    1. Introduction

    2. The current situation of elderly convicts in New Zealand

    3. Sexual crimes and laws in New Zealand

    4. Recent legislation related to sexual crimes in New Zealand

    5. Conclusions

    Chapter 2: ‘No Country for Old Men.’ The Experiences of Elderly Inmates in New Zealand: John Pratt and Yoko Hosoi

    1. The pains of imprisonment as experienced by elderly inmates

    2. Conclusion

    Chapter 3. The State of Elderly Criminals in Australia: Takashi Furukawa

    1. Purpose of this chapter

    2. Aging and social security situation in Australia

    3. Situation of elderly criminals

    4. Conclusion

    Chapter 4. Older Prisoners in New South Wales, Australia: Philip Snoyman, Elena Cama, Eileen Baldry and Carla Treloar

    1. Background

    2. Method

    3. Results

    4. Preliminary survey analysis

    5. Discussion

    Chapter 5. Rehabilitation Services for Elderly Prisoners in Hong Kong: T. Wing Lo, Oliver Chan and Jeffrey Shing

    1. Introduction

    2. The correctional services in Hong Kong

    3. Tailor-made services for elderly prisoners –The Evergreen Garden

    4. Hong Kong elderly prisoners survey

    5. Conclusion

    Chapter 6. Trends in the Aging Prison Population of England and Wales: Jason Danely, Natalie Mann and Carla Reeves

    1. Introduction/rationale

    2. Background of crimes by older people and incarceration

    3. Re-entry/resettlement of elderly prisoners

    4. Reasons for re-offending

    5. Conclusion

    Section IV          A Comparative Cultural Study on Elderly Crime: Results of a Joint Questionnaire Survey in Four Countries (New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia, and Japan)

    Chapter 1. Comparison between New Zealand and Japan: Yoko Hosoi

    1. A comparison between characteristics of elderly convicts from Japan and New Zealand

    2. The Image of Elderly Convicts: Comparison between New Zealand and Japan seen from Interview Surveys

    3. Discussions

    Chapter 2. Comparison of prisoners in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia, and Japan: Bunri Tatsuno

    1. Survey methodology

    2. Living conditions

    3. Life after release

    4. Summary

    Summary and Conclusions: What We Learn and Pass on from Research on Elderly Crimes: Yoko Hosoi

    1. Social background for the increase of theft and its repetition in Japan

    2. The background of the high rate of sexual crimes among the elderly in English-speaking countries: Situations in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom

    3. The lifeworld of elderly criminals: A joint survey of Japan and New Zealand

    4. Crimes by elderly women: Women’s unique life course and awakening of the “self”

    5. Cooperation and distance between justice and welfare for elderly criminals: Focusing on entrance and exit supports

    6. Rehabilitation process of elderly criminals: How to expand “self-reliance”


    Questionnaire (2016 Survey) 



    Yoko Hosoi is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Toyo University, Tokyo, Japan.

    Bunri Tatsuno is an adjunct researcher in Criminal Justice Policy at Kokushikan University, Japan.

    John Pratt is Emeritus Professor of Criminology at the Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.