The Japanese Justice Ministry has proposed raising the age of sexual consent from 13 to 16.
The proposal comes as part of an overhaul of the country’s sex crime legislation after multiple rape acquittals in 2019 caused public outrage.
A panel of the Japanese Justice Ministry aims to criminalize the grooming of minors and broaden the definition of rape. The statute of limitations for reporting sexual assault will increase from 10 to 15 years.
However, there is still an exception for intercourse between people who are at least 13 years old and have an age gap of less than five years.
The current law requires victims to prove that there was “violence and intimidation” during the rape incident and that it was “impossible to resist.”
Although the wording of this law has not been changed, the panel reportedly added other factors to the definition of rape, such as intoxication, drugging, being caught off guard and psychological control.
According to Justice Ministry Official Yusuke Asanuma, the proposal “is not meant to make it easier or harder” for victims to win, but that it should make verdicts “more consistent.”
Japan currently has the lowest age of consent among developed countries and in the G7 group.
The government could pass the law as early as summer.