Legal Age of Consent in Japan

Age of consent refers to the age at which an individual could be considered to have the ability to make their own decisions concerning sexual activities. The Japanese Penal Code stipulates that the age that an individual can be considered to be having the ability to agree to sexual activities from their own will is 13 years. In 2008, the United Nations recommended that Japan raise the age of consent. In many countries, the age of consent ranges from 14 to 16.

What are the Punishments for Violations of the Age of Consent in Japan?

The legal age set by the penal code in Japan is 13, and there are multiple laws imposing penalties for engaging in lewd acts with minors. Under the Children’s Welfare Law, engaging in sexual behavior with a minor is punishable. Bodies involved in the ordinance and the so-called child prostitution prohibitions include the Youth Protection and Nurturing Ordinance and the prostitution Prohibition Law.

The Lasciviousness ordinance provides penalties for lewd acts. Actions undertaken to satisfy one desire with a person under the age of consent are punishable. If a person engages in a descent action with a juvenile or a person under 18 can be arrested for violations of any laws.

To protect children from sexual abuse, the Child Welfare Law has set a law to promote the sound development of children both mentally and physically. The violation of the law would lead to imprisonment of not more than ten years or a fine ranging from 3 million Yens.

The Entertainment and the Entertainment Business Law of Japan stipulate that people who engage in sex-oriented businesses and their customers should be above the age of consent. To ensure this law is adhered to, penalties have been put in for businesses that fail to take action.

The age of Consent in Japan by Prefecture

There is no age of consent by prefecture, but the laws for the violation of various multiple laws differ by prefecture. The de facto age of consent is 13 in all parts of Japan.

Reason Why the Age of Consent is Low in Japan?

The legal consent age has stayed the same in Japan since 1907. Japan’s age of consent is low in comparison to other countries. During the enactment of the age of consent in Japan, the average life expectancy for women was 44 years. Therefore, it was common for women to marry and have children at a young age. With life expectancy for women being 44 years, 13 was considered a reasonable age of consent. The legal age for marriage was 15 years, two years after the legal age of consent.

Will the Legal Age of Consent be Raised?

After a meeting with the UN Legislative Council, there was a tentative plan for revising the penal code for sex crimes in Japan. The meeting drafted a proposal to raise the age of consent from 1 to 16 under certain conditions. The law excluded the acts between two young people that are close in age, with the punishments for sexual acts for persons between the ages of 13 and 16 to be limited to cases of people who are five years older than the victim. The law was modeled on laws concerning the age of consent in other countries.

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