Japan Plans to Raise Age of Consent From 13 Years Old

  • The Japanese government has proposed changing the age of consent from 13 to 16 years old.
  • If passed, the country will no longer have the lowest age of consent of all the G7 nations.
  • The reform of Japan’s sex crime legislation comes after multiple acquittals in sex abuse cases.

The Japanese government wants to change its age of consent from 13 to 16, a move that would mean it would no longer have the lowest age of consent of all G7 countries.

The overhaul of the country’s sex crime legislation proposed last week follows multiple acquittals in sexual abuse cases and high-profile allegations that have sparked protests and public anger in 2019.

The current legal code has been criticized for failing to protect the country’s children and teenagers.

The age of consent is 16 in the UK and most states in the US. It is 14 in Germany and 15 in France.

The series of law reforms will also criminalize voyeurism and expand the country’s legal definition of rape.

Under the current 1907 law, rape survivors must prove that attackers used “violence and intimidation” and that it was “impossible to resist” the attack to get a conviction, according to the BBC.

The century-old law places an undue burden on victims, creating a significant disincentive for people to come forward, a Japanese psychiatrist who treats victims of sexual abuse told Reuters.

The country’s justice ministry did not remove this wording, The Guardian reported, but said other factors such as drunkenness, drugs and psychological control should be added to the legal code.

“I was 15 when a classmate sexually assaulted me at a party. When I told my best friend about it right after, she told me it wasn’t a big problem because I was drinking,” Hana, 20 -year old. old college student, said Hanako Montgomery for Vice World News.

“In that moment, I was so scared of what he could do, so I just waited for it to end. So, I’m glad that Japan is thinking about changing these laws because it will less people like me, who are confused about what happened to them,” Hana told Leas.

Human Rights Now, a Japanese human rights organization, said in a statement that some progress had been marked on the proposed changes but that the country “still fails to comply with the standards of international rape legislation”.

Protests in 2019 over Japan’s new #MeToo movement coincided with a court acquitting a father accused of raping his 19-year-old daughter because the prosecution would not constitute “intimidation”. The decision was later overturned.

The government said the law was likely to pass later this summer.

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