February 22, 2017
TOKYO- The Japanese government will submit a bill to toughen penalties for sex offenders to parliament as soon as early March, informed sources said.
The bill to revise the penal code will change the definition of the crime of rape to allow men to be recognized as victims and include quasi-sex acts in the scope of sex crimes.
The revision will also enable public prosecutors to charge such sexual offenders without criminal complaints from victims and raise minimum terms of imprisonment for sex crimes.
In September last year, the Legislative Council, which advises the justice minister, proposed the revision amid growing calls for tougher measures against sex crimes.
The crime of rape will be redefined for the first time ever since the criminal code was established in the country.
The current law defines rape crime as a forcibly committed sexual intercourse with a female. The amendment will treat male victims equally, on the basis of scientific research that the psychological impact of experiencing sexual assaults is the same for both sexes.
The minimum prison term for sex crimes will be increased to five years from the current three years, and that for such crimes resulting in death or injury will be raised to six years from five years.
The move will raise the punishments to a level equal to robbery and murder.
The revised law will also penalize sex crimes and quasi-sex acts by parents against their children, to prevent such crimes being punished under the child welfare law, which has relatively milder penalties. (Jiji Press)
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