Contributing to International Efforts for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders
In 2022, the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI) in Tokyo marks its 60th anniversary. UNAFEI makes a contribution to the international community’s efforts to prevent crime through the provision of activities such as training courses and seminars.
UNAFEI in Akishima City, Tokyo is a United Nations regional institute, established in 1962 by agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Japan. UNAFEI is the oldest institute of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network Institutes (PNI), a network of nineteen institutes around the world including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Ministry of Justice of Japan is responsible for operating UNAFEI’s activities. UNAFEI’s main activities involve the provision of training courses and seminars for personnel in crime prevention and criminal justice administration in developing countries, with over 6,200 participants in total (as of July 2022) from 142 countries and regions having attended training courses and seminars since the Institute was established. Training courses and seminars have also been held online since the onset of the spread of COVID-19.
International Training Course and International Senior Seminar
The International Training Course and International Senior Seminar are UNAFEI’s two longest-running training courses and seminars. Since 1962, when UNAFEI held its first International Training Course, the Institute has continued to hold two International Training Courses each year in addition to one annual International Senior Seminar. The International Training Course in spring mainly focuses on crime prevention issues and countermeasures against various types of crime, while the International Training Course in the fall mainly focuses on the treatment of offenders. Topics in recent years include “Achieving Inclusive Societies Through Effective Criminal Justice Policies & Practices,” and “Treatment of Women Offenders.”
The International Senior Seminar addresses a wide range of criminal justice issues. Topics in recent years include “Preventing Reoffending Through a Multi-stakeholder Approach,” and “Prevention of Reoffending and Fostering Social Inclusion: From Policy to Good Practice.”
The International Training Course and International Senior Seminar are designed for criminal justice practitioners holding relatively senior or high-ranking positions in their respective countries and each run for five weeks. Typically, there are between five and ten participants from Japan and around fifteen participants from overseas. The events consist of presentations by individual participants on the crime situation and criminal justice systems in their respective countries, lectures by Japanese and international experts and UNAFEI professors, observation visits to criminal justice agencies, group workshops, and plenary discussions.
Lilian Akinyi Otieno of Kenya’s Probation and Aftercare Service expressed her appreciation in writing following her participation in the 2020 International Senior Seminar held in Japan by saying, “UNAFEI’s training seminar has had a great impact on my career.” As someone who works with juvenile probation officers in Kenya, she noted that she found the meeting with Volunteer Probation Officers who help rehabilitate people who have committed crimes particularly beneficial. “While in Japan, I learned a lot about the importance of professionalism,” says Otieno.
Other Training Courses and Seminars
As well as the above-mentioned International Training Courses and Seminars, since 2000, UNAFEI has held the annual International Training Course on the Criminal Justice Response to Corruption, on the topic of the legal system and its application in the prevention of corruption by government officials. Since 2007, UNAFEI has held the annual Regional Seminar on Good Governance for Southeast Asian Countries, to support efforts to establish the rule of law and good governance in Southeast Asian countries.
In 2021, UNAFEI held the Youth International Training Course. This formed part of the institutional response to the Kyoto Declaration adopted at the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (the Kyoto Congress) held in Kyoto in the same year. The second session in August 2022 was held on the topic “Towards a Society without Child Abuse: Seeking Youth-led Solutions” in a hybrid format combining in-person and online participation. The session was attended by twenty-four Japanese and non-Japanese students studying at educational institutions such as universities and graduate schools. One of the attendees, Kato Miki from the University of Toronto, says, “I learned about prevention of child abuse through this course. I hope to contribute to decreasing child abuse in the future.”
In addition to the aforementioned training courses and seminars, UNAFEI provides bilateral assistance at the request of the United Nations and countries around the world. Furthermore, UNAFEI dispatches staff to the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, where it reports the results of research and holds workshops.
UNAFEI will commemorate its 60th anniversary with a ceremony and symposium on October 21, 2022. As part of this event, the public will be able to access online lectures delivered by three international experts. UNAFEI will continue to actively engage in a wide range of activities to support international efforts for crime prevention, treatment of offenders, and the advancement of criminal justice.
Note: This article has been created with the consent of the Ministry of Justice and on the basis of materials published by the Ministry.