Japan Data

Japan’s Sex Crime Legislation Reforms: Survey Reveals Support but Lack of Awareness

Politics Gender and Sex

Japan has reformed its Penal Code, making a number of revisions to sexual crime legislation, including raising the age of consent from 13 to 16.

At a plenary session on June 16, Japan’s House of Councillors unanimously passed a number of reforms to the Penal Code. The revisions to the criminal legislation included integrating the crimes of forcible sexual intercourse and quasi-forcible sexual intercourse (including cases where the victim is under the influence of alcohol or drugs) under the crime of nonconsensual sexual intercourse and raising the age of consent for sexual intercourse from 13 to 16.

In a nationwide survey conducted by the online information service provider Biglobe, 1,000 men and women aged from 20 to 59 were asked whether they were for or against the Penal Code reform and revision of conditions for sex crimes. The results showed that, overall, 56.9% were in favor of the revisions, 7.3% were against, and 35.8% answered “don’t know”. In each of the age groups, the ratio of those who responded “don’t know” exceeded 30%.

Opinion on Penal Code Reform and Revision of Conditions for Sex Crimes

When respondents were asked if there was sufficient education and fostering of awareness about sexual consent at schools and at home, only a low percentage felt this was the case, with just 18.8% agreeing for schools and 16.3% for home.

Is there sufficient education and fostering of awareness about sexual consent?

Respondents were also asked if they felt they would be able to speak up if they were sexually assaulted or harassed. There was a more-or-less even split overall between those who said they could and those who could not, but broken down by gender 57.8% of women answered “No”, which as more than 10 points higher than men with 44.6%.

Would you be able to speak up if you were sexually assaulted or harassed?

Of the 512 people who said that they would be unable to speak up, the most common reason at 50.8% was that they “wouldn’t want anyone to know”, followed by 42.4% who mentioned “the impact it would have on one’s work and surroundings.” The percentage of women not wanting anyone to know was 58.5%, much higher than men at 40.8%.

Reason for Not Being Able to Speak Up

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

crime sexual assault sexual harassment