Japan's sex crime laws face reform finally?!

Japan's sex crime laws image

A panel of Japan's Justice Ministry has recommended raising the country's age of consent from 13 to 16 as part of a wider overhaul of Japan's laws on sex crimes.

The panel's proposal also aims to criminalize the grooming of minors, expand the definition of rape, and increase the statute of limitations for reporting rape from 10 to 15 years.

Currently, Japan has the lowest age of consent in developed countries, and victims of rape must prove that there was "violence and intimidation" used during the rape and that it was "impossible to resist" to secure a conviction.

The re-examination of Japan's sex crime laws follows widespread demonstrations in 2019 following a number of acquittals that caused an outcry.

The proposed changes could be enacted by the Japanese parliament as early as summer, with an exception still existing for intercourse between people who are at least 13 and who have an age gap of fewer than five years.

The recommendations have been welcomed by campaigners and survivors of sexual abuse as a step forward, but some have argued that they "still fail to meet international rape legislation standards."

The proposal would clarify rape prosecution requirements and criminalize voyeurism, but some advocates believe that the requirement for victims to prove "violence and intimidation" should be eliminated altogether to bring Japan's laws in line with international standards.

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