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The killing of children by children as a symptom of national crisis : reactions in Britain and Japan.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Criminology and Criminal Justice
Issue number1
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)5-25
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this article, we describe and analyse the public and political responses to two notorious cases of the killing of children by children, one in Merseyside, England and one in Kobe, Japan. We discuss the ways in which the cases were presented as symptomatic of wider social problems, and how in both Britain and Japan they acted as a catalyst for changes in the juvenile criminal justice system. The article describes and attempts to explain both similarities and differences in the reactions to the killings in Britain and Japan, arguing that while the differences may be more obvious the similarities may be more instructive, and setting the description in the context of penological arguments about globalization and the emergence of a postmodern penality. We conclude that neither country is as unique in its responses to juvenile crime as is sometimes claimed, and that despite `postmodern' anxieties and scepticism in both countries, a `modernist' welfare approach to the reintegration of the killers remained feasible in both Britain and Japan.