In an effort to reduce sex crime, Japan wants to raise the consent age from 13 to 16

A woman with a sign that reads "No" is holding it

The Japanese Justice Ministry panel has suggested raising the consent age from 13 to 16.

It is a part of a larger revision to Japan's sex crime laws following a wave of rape acquittals in 2019.

Additionally, the proposal seeks to define rape broadly and criminalize the grooming of minors.

Additionally, the reporting deadline for rape will be extended from 10 to 15 years.

Japan currently has the lowest legal consent age among developed nations and the G7.

The legal drinking age is 14 in Germany and Italy, 15 in Greece and France, 16 in the UK, and many US states.

According to Japan's current legal system, rape victims must demonstrate that "violence and intimidation" were used during the rape and that it was "impossible to resist" in order to be found guilty.

Instead of changing this wording, the panel expanded the definition by including additional elements like intoxication, drug use, being caught off guard, and psychological control.

This "isn't meant to make it easier or harder" for victims to win a rape case, according to Justice Ministry official Yusuke Asanuma, but rather that it should make verdicts "more consistent.".

The review of the sex crime laws follows significant protests in 2019 in response to a number of acquittals. In one instance, a man who was accused of having sex with his teenage daughter was exonerated, despite the fact that the court found that it was done against her will. Later, after the prosecution filed an appeal, he was jailed.

Another witnessed a man being acquitted of raping a woman who was intoxicated and passed out because he "misunderstood" that she had given consent to having sex.

The law might be enacted by the government as early as the summer. There will still be an exception for sexual activity between individuals who are at least 13 and have an age difference of less than five years, despite the potential change to the age of consent.

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