Japan Adopts Bill to Toughen Penalties for Sex Crimes (News)
Tokyo, March 7 (Jiji Press)—The Japanese government adopted a bill on Tuesday to toughen penalties for sex crimes in what will be the country's first fundamental reform of the legal framework for addressing sexual offenses in more than a century.
The bill to revise the Penal Code, adopted at a cabinet meeting, calls for strengthening penalties for rape and indecent assault cases, and removing the current law's requirement of complaints from victims for sexual offenders to be prosecuted.
In what will be the first drastic revision of the treatment of sex-related crimes since Japan's Penal Code was established in 1907, the amendment will change the definition of the crime of rape to allow men, in addition to women, to be recognized as victims, as well as include some acts similar to sexual intercourse that currently fall under the category of indecent assault.
"In some cases, imposing an appropriate punishment is difficult under the existing penalty system," Justice Minister Kaneda Katsutoshi told a press conference after the cabinet meeting.
"We aim to have the amendment enacted without delay," Kaneda said, noting high public interest in the matter.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]