Japan has raised the age of consent from 13, which was among the lowest in the world, to 16 years old, as a part of significant changes to the country's sex crime laws.
According to Japan Times, the upper chamber of parliament unanimously approved a new measure that criminalises voyeurism and specifies the guidelines for rape prosecutions.
Japan Raises Consent Age
In Britain, France, Germany, and China, the age of consent, below which sexual conduct is regarded as statutory rape, is 14. In Britain, it is 16, and in France, it is 15. Japan's laws haven't changed since 1907, and adolescents 13 and older are considered to be of legal age to give consent.
Regional laws prohibiting "lewd" conduct with children are frequently interpreted in various areas of the nation as effectively raising the legal age of consent to 18. Teen couples who are no more than five years apart in age will no longer be subject to prosecution under the new rule if both parties are older than 13.
For the first time in more than a century, Japan amended its penal code on sexual assaults in 2017, but activists criticised the changes as being insufficient. And in 2019, a series of rape case acquittals sparked protests across the country.
Prosecutors had to demonstrate that victims' incapacitating injuries resulted from violence and intimidation under the prior statute. This condition, according to critics, effectively blames victims for not exerting enough resistance.
There is a list of circumstances under which rape prosecutions may be brought in the law that was enacted on Friday. These include survivors who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, survivors who are scared, and offenders who prey on social status. A justice ministry official told AFP earlier this year that they would hopefully make court verdicts more consistent rather than meant to make it easier or harder to achieve rape convictions.
The justice ministry also claims that a new "visitation request offence" is included in the bill. It implies that anyone who force youngsters under the age of 16 to meet for seeking sexual favours using threats, seduction, or financial inducement risk up to a year in jail or a $3,500 fine.
Photo credit: The Guardian