World

Japan is considering raising the age of consent from 13 to 16 as part of an overhaul of the country’s sex crime legislation.

The age of consent in Japan has remained unchanged since 1907 and is one of the lowest in the world – and among all G7 nations.

In Germany and Italy it is 14, in Greece and France it is 15, while in the UK and many US states it is 16.

A justice ministry panel in Japan has proposed raising the age of consent.

The move aims to criminalise voyeurism and the grooming of minors, and will also expand the definition of rape.

Under present laws, victims of rape need to prove “violence and intimidation” were used to secure a conviction.

The panel has not changed the wording, but has added other factors to the definition so it covers intoxication, drugging, being caught off guard and psychological control.

Justice Ministry official Yusuke Asanuma said the proposals “will hopefully make court verdicts more consistent”.

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The move follows a series of rape acquittals in 2019 that sparked nationwide protests, including a case in which a man was accused of raping his teenage daughter.

He was acquitted, despite the court agreeing that it was against her will. Prosecutors appealed against the decision and the man was later jailed.

Existing laws have long been criticised for failing to protect children from sexual offences.

The panel’s recommendations have been submitted to justice minister Ken Saito, Kyodo news agency reported.

The Japanese government could approve the changes as early as summer.

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