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Japan introduced a reform to raise the age of sexual consent from 13 to 16

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Japan introduced a reform to raise the age of sexual consent from 13 to 16

The corrections will also penalize sexual relations with minors under 16 years of age / Photo: 123RF

The Government of Japan sent Parliament a bill to classify rape, even if there has not been physical violence or coercionand raising the age of sexual consent from 13 to 16, as part of a series of reforms to the country’s Penal Code.

The government intends to approve the bill during the current legislature and it would take effect within 20 days of its promulgation, the Japanese news agency Kyodo News reported.

The amendments, which seek to make clearer the illegality of non-consensual sexual relations, will also classify as punishable offenses in the Penal Code “upskirting” (taking pictures under the skirts) and the production of images of genitalia without consent .

Some actions that with the current system would not be imputed by the vague definition of what is punishable, with the new amendments may become illegal.

In addition, they will define the circumstances in which a violation will be deemed to have occurred, including, but not limited to, someone taking advantage of a person’s diminished ability to resist due to the influence of alcohol or drugs as well as abuse of power economic or social.

Although Japan revised its Penal Code in 2017, renaming the crime of “rape” for that of “forced sexual intercourse”continued to demand physical violence or coercion for a rape to be defined as such.

In this way, some actions that with the current system would not be imputed by the vague definition of what is punishable, with the new amendments can become illegal.

The amendments will also criminalize sexual relations with minors under the age of 16, raising the legal age of consent to 13, one of the lowest among developed nations, having been in force since 1907.

Although the changes will make sexual relations with minors under the age of 16 illegal regardless of consent, an exception is provided for cases where a person between the ages of 13 and 15 has sexual relations with a person less than five years older.

In addition to making “upskirting” and the production of nude images without consent illegal, it will also be punishable to provide or circulate such images and videos.

The promise of payments to minors under 16 years of age will also be classified as a crime, with an eye toward preventing recruitment for prostitution.

Meanwhile, the statute of limitations for criminal proceedings will be extended from 10 to 15 years for non-consensual sexual relations and from 15 to 20 years for indecent assaults.



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