Age of Consent to Be Raised in Japan

The public’s outcry is answered, after a series of rape acquittals in 2019 proved the law to be inefficient.

Nina Theriot Valdes, Staff Writer


Recently, the Japanese Justice Ministry has aimed to raise the age of consent in the country. Previously, the Japanese age of legal consent was 13, the lowest among the G7 countries. The proposal seeks to raise it to 16. Germany and Italy are a close second to Japan, as the age of consent is 14, Greece and France take third place, as the age is 15, and the UK takes fourth place, as the age is 16. The United States stands between fourth and fifth place, as the age is usually 18 but lowers to 16 in several states.


The motivations behind the proposal are consequent of the wide outcries occasioned by multiple rape acquittals back in 2019, when the law proved to be problematic: victims were required to prove that violence, intimidation, and the impossibility to resist were present in order to assure the conviction of their attackers. As a result, multiple attackers were allowed to walk free, which elicited public outrage. These statues have not yet been changed.


Instead, additional criteria like intoxication, roofying, and psychological control, have been added as constitutive of rape in Japan’s attempt to broaden the meaning of rape and penalize the grooming of minors. The law is predicted to pass by summer, but victims might not yet see the process of convicting their attackers become any easier. The original statutes of the law still stand and require the victim to provide extensive evidence but, as stated by Justice Ministry official Yusuke Asanuma, the recent additions to the law should make conviction “more consistent.”