Japan to raise age of consent from 13 to 16 in major sex crime overhaul
As part of major overhaul of sex crime legislation, a panel of Japan's Justice Ministry proposed raising the age of consent from 13 to 16. The move aims to criminalise the grooming of minors and will also expand the definition of rape.
The move comes after a series of rape acquittals in 2019 that sparked an outcry.
The ministry will also increase the statute of limitation for reporting rape from 10 to 15, BBC reported.
The current law states that victims of rape need to prove that "violence and intimidation" were used during the rape and that it was impossible to resist, to secure a conviction.
The panel has not changed this wording but has added other factors including intoxication, drugging, being caught off guard and psychological control into the definition.
Ministry's official Yusuke Asanuma said that the move isn't made to make it easier or more challenging for the rape victims but that it should make verdicts 'more consistent.'
Currently, the Asian country has the lowest age of consent among the developed countries and the lowest in the G7 group.
In countries like Germany and Italy, the age is 14, in Greece and France it is 15 and in the UK and many states of the US, it is 16.
In 2019, a case saw a man go free after being accused of having intercourse with his teenage daughter, even though the court agreed that it was done against the wish of his daughter. He was later sent to prison after prosecutors appealed.
The government could pass this law as early as summer. Despite the potential to change the age of consent, the country will have an exception for intercourse between people who are at least 13 and who have an age gap of less than five years.