Glossary of Terms Used in Criminal Cases


Accessoryship…Assisting a perpetrator of a crime in carrying out the crime.

Accusation…Declaration of intention of a person/persons other than those who have the right to make c complain by informing the investigative authority of the fact of the crime.

Accused…A person prosecuted facing a charge of a crime.

Additional Prosecution…During the progress of the first hearing, to charge the same accused with another crime.

Alibi…the facts or evidence to substantiate that the suspect is not a perpetrator, the fact which would contradict if the suspect is the perpetrator, such as that he or she was in some other place at the time the alleged offense was committed.

Appeal against a Ruling by a Judge or a Disposition by a Prosecutor, etc. (quiasi-Kokoku appeal) …The proceedings of application for filing an objection to ask for annulment or modification of a certain number of dispositions taken by a judge or investigative authority to a court.

Appeal to the Court of Second Instance…A person who disagrees with the verdict of the first hearing files an objection to a higher court (in a criminal case, high court).

Arrest…Constraining coercively body of a suspect for a given length of time to prevent the suspect from fleeing and destroying or concealing evidence.

Attempt…One launched a criminal act, but it did not go far enough to realize the result of the crime.

Avoidance of Clear and Present Danger…A case where one carried out an act because he or she had no choice but to do so in order to avoid the present danger against the person or a third party, and the damage caused by the act does not go beyond the extent of damage that would be caused by the danger he or she tried to avoid. In this case, the crime is not established because illegality is exempted.



Bail…The system to release an accused subject to deposit of bail money.



Charged Facts…The fact of a crime written in an indictment as counts.

Complain from the Victim…Declaration of intention of a victim of a crime or others who has the right to make a complain to favor punishment by informing the investigative authority of the fact of the crime.

Completion of Commission of Crime…A crime is completely established.

Court-Appointed Defense Counsel…Counsel who was appointed upon request of a suspect or accused, or by authority of judge.

Criminal Case…Case that a punishment by the application of laws and regulations of criminal nature becomes an issue.

Criminal Trial…Trial of criminal case.

Cross-Examination…The opposite of the party who requested to examine a witness examines the witness.



Decision Not to Prosecute…Public prosecutor’s disposition not to prosecute.

Deposition…Submitting money or securities to a deposit office and entrusting the management of them to the office. This is done with the purpose of achieving a certain amount of legal consequence by the deposit office’s making a specific person to obtain the property.

Detention…The procedure to detain a suspect or accused at a detention institution following arrest.

Detention for Expert Examination…Detaining a suspect or accused at an institution such as a hospital to examine his/her mental and physical conditions where there is a possibility to be uncappable of being held liability of the suspect or accused.

Donation as Atonement…A person who has committed a crime makes a donation to a public entity as a way to express of a feeling of his/her atonement. This is to be done when there is no victim or the out-of-court settlement cannot be made.

Duty Lawyer System…A system that a lawyer goes to have an interview once for free upon a request from a suspect arrested.



Exclusionary Rule…The rule that cuts off the evidence from the evidence to convict the accused at the trial when the procedure for collection of the evidence was illegal.

Excessive Self-Defense…A case that the circumstance of self-defense is found but one’s counter offense is excessive as the method of defense. In this case, the self-defense is not established, and the offense is subject to voluntary reduction of punishment.

Expert Evidence…Rule pertaining to special knowledge and experience done by an institution with relevant knowledge, or a report of judgement earned by application of the rule to specific facts. There are two cases in criminal proceedings: it is used to assist a court in making a decision; and, it is carried out by a person or institution delegated by an investigative authority.

Extension of Detention…Extending the term of detention. Detention may be extended within ten days upon request from a public prosecutor when there are inevitable reasons.



False Accusation…Falsely charged even though one did not commit a crime.

Family Court…A court that has the authority to hold a hearing and conciliation of familiar and domestic case, and a hearing and decision of juvenile case.

Final Appeal…A person who disagrees with a verdict of the second hearing (in a case of criminal trial, high court) files a claim to a higher court (in a case of criminal trial, the supreme court).



Hearsay Evidence…Writing of the content of statement and statement about what one heard from other people. In principle, the admissibility of evidence of hearsay evidence is not permitted; however, it can be accepted as evidence exceptionally with a consent to permit the evidence or by fulfilling certain conditions.



Illegally Collected Evidence…Evidence that was collected illegally. Such evidence may not be admitted as evidence at the trial.

Imprisonment with Work…Punishment to detain a convict in a prison and make him/her perform prescribed works.

Indictment/Prosecution…Institution of prosecution. A public prosecutor seeks a conviction to a court.

Indirect Principal…Principal who realized a crime making use of other people as a tool.

in dubio pro reo… The principle of presumption of innocence that a defendant may not be convicted by the court unless proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Institution of Prosecution…Prosecution. A public prosecutor seeks a conviction to a court.

Interview or Other Contact and Communication with Outside Persons…The suspect or accused personally meets his/her counsel or a person who is going to be his/her counsel and communicates each other.



Judicial Decision…Legal determination done by a court or a judge/judges by their authority. It is categorized into three types: judgement, ruling, and order.

 Justification…While the fact that he/she has carried out an act that is prohibited by law with criminal punishment is found, to eliminate the illegality of the act if there are any exceptional circumstances to justify the act (ex. Self-defense, avoidance of clear and present danger, etc.). If the justifiable causes are found, the establishment of the crime is negated.

Juvenile Delinquent/Offender…A juvenile over 14 years of age who has violated laws and regulations of criminal nature.

Juvenile Delinquent under the Age of 14…A juvenile under 14 years of age who has violated laws and regulations of criminal nature.



Measures for Observation and Protection of Juveniles…Referral of a Juvenile to a juvenile classification home or putting a juvenile under the observation and protection of a family court probation officer.

Misdemeanor Imprisonment without Work…One of punishments that impose to minor offenses. To be detained at the penal institution for a term of not more than one day not less than thirty days.



Negligence…Violation of duty of care. It means that neglecting one’s duty to circumvent the consequence even though he/she could have anticipated the consequence.

Negligent Offense…Offense subjected to criminal punishment from a legal perspective where negligence brought a specific result.

Non-Penal Fine…Administrative sanction to collect money, not punishment.



Offense Prosecutable upon a Complaint…An offense that cannot be prosecuted without a complaint from the victim.

Order…Legal decisions by a judge. It is made when detaining the suspect.

Ordinary Arrest…Arrest carried out on the basis of arrest warrant that a judge has issued.

Out-of-Court Settlement…Agreement to resolve a legal dispute by the dialogue between the parties without a court.



Petty Fine…Punishment to collect cohesively money of not less than thousand yen not more than one thousand yen.

Pretrial Conference Procedure…The procedure for preparation for trial to be held before the first trial that was introduced with the purpose of improvement and speed-up of criminal trial. This is essential to the cases subject to Saiban-in trial.

Privately-Appointed Defense Counsel…Counsel whom the suspect, the accused or others who may appoint appointed.

Prohibition of Interview…Prohibition of a suspect or accused under detention from having an interview or other contact and communication with outside persons. This prohibition is to be made by ruling or order by a judge or court.

Protective Measures…Dispositions delivered by a family court to a juvenile subject to a hearing and decision. The measures include placing the juvenile under probation; referral to a children’s self-reliance support facility or a foster home; referral to a juvenile training school, etc.

Public Defender for Suspect…The system that a court appoints a court-appointed defense counsel upon a request from a suspect under detention who is charged in a certain amount of serious crimes before prosecution.



Questioning of the Accused…Question to the accused in the trial proceedings. The content of the statement may become evidence.



Release…Liberate a suspect or accused detained in a detention facility based on legal grounds.

Request for Disclosure of the Reasons for Detention…Procedure that a judge discloses the reasons of detention in an open court upon request of the suspect, accused, counsel, or others.

Request for a Trial…Public prosecutor requests a formal trial in an open court to a court.

Request for Summary Order (Summary Indictment) …Public prosecutor requests a summary trial not a formal trial.

Retrial…Over a case whose judgement became a final and binding, annulling the judgement and retrying the case where there are legal grounds to do so.

Right to Counsel…The right to ask a lawyer to defend the suspect or accused.

Right to Remain Silent…The right of the suspect and accused not to be compelled to give a statement on the issues unfavorable to them which run the risk of their facing criminal charge.



Search…Compulsory disposition to find out a house or body to find the suspect or evidence.

Seizure…Collectively means retention and seizure.

Sending the suspect…Sending the suspect and case record.

Special Juvenile Training School…A juvenile training school where holds those over 16-years-old under 23-yaers-old who has a high tendency to commit a crime without significant mental problem.

Status Offender…A juvenile who is likely to commit a crime or violate laws and regulations of criminal nature in the future. The Juvenile Act sets a certain amount of reasons of status offender.

Summary Order (Summary Fine) …A decision that a summary court imposes a fine or petty fine without trial procedure upon a request from a public prosecutor.

Suspect…A person who faces a charge of a crime at the investigative stage.

Suspension of Execution of the Sentence…Suspending a sentence that a court handed down.

Suspension of Prosecution…One of the reasons of prosecutor’s decision not to prosecute. While suspicion of a crime is clear, a prosecutor makes a decision not to prosecute when the prosecutor finds that there is no need to prosecute because of various circumstances including that the crime is petty.



Time Limitation on Prosecution…So-called, “statute of limitations”. A system that when the period of time specified in a statute of limitations passes, an accusation may not be filed.

Trial…Proceedings of a hearing held in an open court by a judge, public prosecutor, and the accused (counsel).



Undercover Operation…A method of investigation that an investigative authority works on the suspect to commit a crime hiding the investigative authority’s status and intention from the suspect, and makes the suspect arrests as he/she committed the crime.



Voluntary Accompanying…The investigative authority asks a suspect or other subject persons to accompany to the police station with his/her consent when required for investigation.


It is useful to receive advice from specialists because there are many uncommon terms in criminal and juvenile cases.

If you are stumped about criminal and juvenile cases, please ask to AICHI Criminal Cases Law Firm. Lawyers specializing in criminal and juvenile cases personally provide for “the free consultation”. Where the suspect got arrested, we also provide for “the first interview service” that our lawyers go to the detention facility where the suspect is, at the shortest on the day. Please ask us as soon as possible.




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