A group of university students in Japan have submitted a petition to the Japanese Justice Ministry, requesting that the age of consent be raised from the current age of 13 to 16 years.
Unlike the West, in Japan, anyone caught having sex with a person under 13 can be arrested for statutory rape under the Criminal Law, but charging someone with sex crimes for having intercourse with a person over the age of 13 requires proof of violent action or threats.
Moreover, the victim must explain the extent to which they resisted in order to bring a charge of sexual assault. In Japan once you are over 13 you are seen as an adult who is aware of his or her sexual capabilities.
The group of students called ‘Your Voice Matters’ started a petition addressed to Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa. Theonlime petition has gotten about 40,000 signatures therefore the govwrnment can now look into the matter.
A 21-year-old girl is a member of the group said she had not realized the age of consent was set so low until she began studying the issue in university.
“I was very surprised,” she recalled. “There were many people who signed the petition who also said they first realized what the consent age was through this effort.
“It is important to raise the age of consent in order to protect minors who are still immature physically and psychologically from sex crimes in light of the fact sexual intercourse is not taught during compulsory education.”
The request submitted by the students’ group explained that 13 was a low age from an international perspective and asked that it be raised to 16 when many children will have graduated from junior high school.
The petition stated since junior high school students are not taught sexual education they may not be fully informed about what constitutes sexual assault.
According to UNICEF, Japan has one of the world’s highest rates of child pornography.