crime

Panel proposes 1st changes in 100 years to penal code for sex offenders

40 Comments

A Justice Ministry panel is proposing tougher penalties for sex offenders in what will be the first revisions to the penal code for sex offenders since 1907.

The changes proposed by the Legislative Council to Justice Minister Katsutoshi Kaneda on Monday include an elimination of the law requiring rape victims to make a formal complaint in order for investigators and public prosecutors to charge sexual offenders. This revision is intended to ease the burden on rape victims who are currently obliged to file complaints themselves, Fuji TV reported. Another change calls for raising the minimum prison term for rape to five years from the current three years.

Other proposals are: -- For victims under the age of 18, guardians and parents can be charged as sex offenders in rape and molestation cases. -- Revising the present provision that is deemed gender biased as it limits rapists to men and rape victims to women. -- A broader definition of “rape” will include acts outside of vaginal intercourse (i.e. forcible oral sex or anal penetration).

The Legislative Council will also further examine what female victims regard as the boundary of sexual assaults.

The Justice Ministry hopes to introduce a bill with the revisions during next year’s ordinary session of the Diet.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Only took them 100 years !!! Wow,that's some real progress for you right there!!

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Seriously? The fact that this is just being revised now tells you just how far behind Japan really is.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Remember, its just a proposal. When it passes, then we can say they've done something. until then its only a proposal

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Conversely, that Japan only needs to do this now suggests that the rampant rape culture seen everywhere else on Earth isn't as pervasive here. Very impressive!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Remember, its just a proposal. When it passes, then we can say they've done something. until then its only a proposal

Getting started is the hardest part. Rather than criticizing for taking so long, how about a positive comment towards the fact that someone wants to do something?

No need to congratulate them on getting the proposal passed, because it hasn't been passed. But give credit where it's due.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

When they pass and actually enforce the law fairly, then we can say they've done something.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

When they pass and actually enforce the law fairly, then we can say they've done something.

Well, they have done something, just not as much as you would like - yet. Let's go into it with an open mind. Usually proposals like this in Japan end up with some sort of action.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

A broader definition of “rape” will include acts outside of vaginal intercourse (i.e. forcible oral sex or anal penetration).

Does that mean that until now non vaginal forcible penetration (including with a foreign object) was not considered 'rape'? Hard to believe really.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Progress!! Should include other types of offence including uposkirt filming, stalking etc.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, they have done something, just not as much as you would like - yet. Let's go into it with an open mind. Usually proposals like this in Japan end up with some sort of action.

Again, when it passes then I'll agree with you that they've done something.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Readers, no more bickering please. Please focus your comments on the story and not at each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Aly RustomSEP. 13, 2016 - 04:52PM JST

Seriously? The fact that this is just being revised now tells you just how far behind Japan really is.

How often does the definition of "rape" change in your country? I think it does not change a bit in common law countries.

an elimination of the law requiring rape victims to make a formal complaint in order for investigators and public prosecutors to charge sexual offenders.

The problem with the change is that any sexual intercourse, with consent or not, is subject to investigation. Though I think it is a good idea that any homicide, injury or robbery should be under investigation regardless of victim's complaint, I do not think so with regard to every sexual intercourse.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How often does the definition of "rape" change in your country? I think it does not change a bit in common law countries.

That's because in my country, everybody knows that forced anal and forced oral is rape.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

How about a discussion as to whether all of these are good ideas or people are just happy on anything "tough on rape".

Take the whole "formal complaint" thing - doesn't it remove choice from the victim? Right now, she can choose silence or receiving a large "jidan" as the least bad out over a session in court. The new proposal removes that option.

For victims under the age of 18, guardians and parents can be charged as sex offenders in rape and molestation cases.

What? You can't now?

Revising the present provision that is deemed gender biased as it limits rapists to men and rape victims to women.A broader definition of “rape” will include acts outside of vaginal intercourse (i.e. forcible oral sex or anal penetration).

Right now, all these will fit under forced indecency which does have up to a 10 year sentence. Call me a traditionalist, but there are objective reasons why the good old vaginal intercourse is a step up from other forms of coerced indecencies of a sexual nature (such as it being the only one with a chance of impregnation), whether the victims are male or female. Are there any real problems that can't be solved by better application of existing laws?

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

In Japan, anal sex is sexual abuse with punishment of 10 years or less in prison. I do not see any reason to categorize anal sex into rape rather than sexual abuse.

You don't. But apparently some lawmakers do. And they are right. If somebody throws you down, removes your pants and sodomizes you, I can't see how that cannot be classified as rape.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"Call me a traditionalist, but there are objective reasons why the good old vaginal intercourse is a step up from other forms of coerced indecencies of a sexual nature (such as it being the only one with a chance of impregnation), whether the victims are male or female"

Hmmm, I see your point Kazuaki (may be wrong but I feel it's a very 'religous' angle) but imo all form of rapes are or can potentially be as traumatic if not more, than 'the good old vaginal intercourse'. This is why imo adding oral/anal forcible penetration is the right move. Rape is rape full stop. Potential impregnation is one thing, but humiliation, physical and psychological trauma are imo what define 'rapes' of all sorts. (And i know for some women anal/oral rape can be even more traumatic and damaging hence the need NOT to differentiate/classify/lessen one form of rape over others.)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Aly RustomSEP. 13, 2016 - 06:42PM JST

In Japan, anal sex is sexual abuse with punishment of 10 years or less in prison. I do not see any reason to categorize anal sex into rape rather than sexual abuse.

You don't. But apparently some lawmakers do.

No, it is not a move by lawmakers. It is a move by "a Justice Ministry panel", which is a group of scholars who say yes to anything bureaucrats instruct.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Rape is an emotionally devastating crime. Determining the degree of criminality based on whether or not there is a chance of getting pregnant completely ignores this, and bases the criminality factor on only one variable of the entire equation. Anal rape is going to be just as emotionally traumatizing as vaginal rape.

Both are equally heinous.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Wow seriously old.... rapists are men and rape is only vaginal ? Seems so old.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@gogogo

Wow seriously old.... rapists are men and rape is only vaginal ? Seems so old.

A reflection on the people making the laws, I suppose.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A step in the right direction, I only hope these revisions actually happen, although 5 years for rape is still a rather low sentence,

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan, just keep'in on being primitive.............there appear to be some potential for progress but its pretty much a minimum

And just what the hell does this even mean??

—For victims under the age of 18, guardians and parents can be charged as sex offenders in rape and molestation cases.

Are they saying that parents & guardians can rape their own children with impunity UNLESS something is changed..........nasty stuff!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No, it is not a move by lawmakers. It is a move by "a Justice Ministry panel", which is a group of scholars who say yes to anything bureaucrats instruct.

Well if scholars say that forced anal penetration is rape and you say it's not, I think I'm going to go with the scholars.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So many rape expert appeared here

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@goldorakSEP. 13, 2016 - 06:43PM JST

Actually, goldorak, I'm atheist.

I don't want to denigrate the subjective damage suffered in forced anal/oral intercourse. However, I can assign them the same value ("S") and vaginal intercourse will still be S+O while the others would be just S.

Speaking in terms of rights and freedoms, the others are violations of inviolability of the person and violation of sexual freedom. But vaginal will also involve violations of reproductive freedom. It is really difficult to avoid the notion that something more is infringed when a vagina gets involved.

Besides, if we want to acknowledge the subjective damage suffered by victims of forced anal/oral penetration, rather than stretch words we should just ensure their assailants get the same or almost the same penalties.

If as a judge I have two defendants in front of me and the only difference is that A did a vaginal and B did an anus, I'll happily give Convict 1 eight years and Convict 2 seven (the objective addition can't be ignored). I'm very happy with any forcible penetration getting no less than three years with over 90% getting 5 or more.

But I can already do all that with the present law, which makes me wonder whether we really need to change this area. Sure, I can't give the anal guy over 10 years ... but do you really think they are going to be handing out >10 years for "simple" (unaggravated) rape in any case?

If anything, IMO victims will be better served by amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, namely Article 248 concerning unlimited prosecutorial discretion. According to Strangerland, there are some de facto limits already in place, but making it part of positive law and adding in Articles 176-179 to a list of mandatory prosecution crimes cannot hurt.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Wow, about time. Unfortunately just PROPOSING. Let's hope this proposal goes through as what is on the books is really ancient.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@silly: am guessing now. probably J people are studying other countries justice system. It has to overhaul entire penal codes. Beside that, like littler country, have to impliment psychiatric evaluation, treatment, co silt etch toward victims and criminLs. But J has to create on own for smart phone using women's underwear lovers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Aly RustomSEP. 13, 2016 - 10:17PM JST

Well if scholars say that forced anal penetration is rape and you say it's not, I think I'm going to go with the scholars.

OK. It is your view. You want to lump vaginal, anal and oral sex into one criminal category.

But I think putting vaginal sex into one criminal category and putting anal and oral sex into another criminal category, which is the case in Japan now, is just as fine. I am afraid you misunderstand that anal and oral sex cannot be prosecuted in Japan, which is not the case.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"Speaking in terms of rights and freedoms, the others are violations of inviolability of the person and violation of sexual freedom. But vaginal will also involve violations of reproductive freedom."

Again disagree with your reasoning kazuaki. By your logic, women who are post menopause, or even women who are unable to conceive, on the pill etc should also be treated differently as their 'reproductive freedom' isn't damaged per se in case of vaginal rapes? Vaginal doesn't necessarily means 'pregnancy'.

Again by your logic, someone who's raped a 62yo woman deserves a lesser sentence than someone who raped a 33yo one.

That's imo very dangerous and quite insulting to victims of rapes, all sort of rapes and all victims. You make it sound like 'some rapes' are not as bad based on, sorry to be blunt, ' the orifice' penetrated and the victim herself (age). I just dont get it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@goldorakSEP. 14, 2016 - 10:44AM JST

Again by your logic, someone who's raped a 62yo woman deserves a lesser sentence than someone who raped a 33yo one.

First, I think it is intellectually honest to acknowledge that there is an objective basis for arguing exactly that, however distasteful it might feel to the instincts. If we want to make an argument for equal punishment, we need to define the reasons for our distaste more precisely and consider whether they are justified.

One way out is to decide that our ick is because of the apparent violation of equality. From this we can make an argument that though there are objective differences, the importance of equality truimphs this consideration.

That's imo very dangerous and quite insulting to victims of rapes, all sort of rapes and all victims. You make it sound like 'some rapes' are not as bad based on, sorry to be blunt, ' the orifice' penetrated and the victim herself (age). I just dont get it.

Here's where maybe you should reconsider your position. If the problem was not sexual, where the attack occurred will surely make a difference. For example, if I stabbed you in the arm, your arm can rot and the psychological trauma from the attack can leave you insane and it's still injury. Even if complications kill you, it'll still be Injury causing death.

If I stabbed you in the chest, even if you make a full recovery physically and psychologically, the charge will be attempted homicide. The difference in charges acknowledge the objective differences these two attacks have in terms of the foreseeable and intended damage and violation of rights & freedoms.

Will you argue that this distinction somehow disrespects those that were stabbed in arms and legs?

So why is it when it comes to sexuality, all of a sudden the orifice being attacked should make no difference?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

—For victims under the age of 18, guardians and parents can be charged as sex offenders in rape and molestation cases.

Does this mean that if a 16 year old rapes someone, the parents or guardians can be charged with rape instead of the 16 year old?

Huh?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kazuaki, All fair points. I think I deliberately, rightly or wrongly, want to keep an 'emotional angle' whereas you are perhaps more rational and logical about the whole thing. Dunno which approach is best tbh. Anyway, enjoyed the exchange, you really made some valid, albeit slightly disturbing (!), points.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Surely the most horrific aspect of this is that, according to the article, under current law a parent can rape a child under 18 and it isnt deemed a crime. How has this not been changed before?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When they pass and actually enforce the law fairly, then we can say they've done something.

Interesting timing to release such of desire to revise the penal code, a few days after Japan prosecutor had dropped all the charges on a sex offender case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cy WestSEP. 14, 2016 - 08:11PM JST

Surely the most horrific aspect of this is that, according to the article, under current law a parent can rape a child under 18 and it isnt deemed a crime. How has this not been changed before?

That is due to bad translation. Here is the link to the original report.

http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001185581.pdf

It says that a minor under 18 is raped by someone while the minor is under the "influence" of the minor's parent or guardian, the minor's parent or guardian is also guilty of rape. The meaning of "influence" is left undefined.

If a parent or a guardian rapes a minor, the parent or the guardian is, of course, guilty of rape currently in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OK. It is your view. You want to lump vaginal, anal and oral sex into one criminal category.

Its actually the view of almost the whole world. Not mine.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Aly RustomSEP. 15, 2016 - 01:22PM JST

Definitely not "the whole world". I checked only the State of California.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=261-269

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=281-289.6

The State differentiates rape (sec 261), sodomy (sec 286), oral copulation (sec 288a), and sexual penetration by foreign objects (sec 289) , and punishes differently, (if the victim is under age or coerced.)

My point is that there are many ways to categorize sexual offences. Putting everything into one big "rape" category as you insist is one way of doing it. But putting it into two categories as Japan currently does or putting it into 4 categories as the State of California currently does is just as reasonable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You misinterpreted the law.

(a) Any person who commits any of the following acts upon a child who is under 14 years of age and seven or more years younger than the person is guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child: (1) Rape, in violation of paragraph (2) or (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 261. (2) Rape or sexual penetration, in concert, in violation of Section 264.1. (3) Sodomy, in violation of paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (c), or subdivision (d), of Section 286. (4) Oral copulation, in violation of paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (c), or subdivision (d), of Section 288a. (5) Sexual penetration, in violation of subdivision (a) of Section

(b) Any person who violates this section is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 15 years to life. (c) The court shall impose a consecutive sentence for each offense that results in a conviction under this section if the crimes involve separate victims or involve the same victim on separate occasions as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 667.6.

As you can see, sodomy and forced oral copulation is included. California doesn't distinguish between the 3. They just list them separately so that there can be no discrepancy when dealing with the courts, and not to allow some swanky attorney to get their client off on a technicality- which happens often. But they are one and the same. Please read the quote above. Also, I am sorry to tell you that yes, the overwhelming majority do classify forced oral and anal as sex.

But I think putting vaginal sex into one criminal category and putting anal and oral sex into another criminal category, which is the case in Japan now, is just as fine.

Ok. that's what you think. Fair enough. I tend to disagree very much with that statement.

I am afraid you misunderstand that anal and oral sex cannot be prosecuted in Japan, which is not the case.

I understand very well. I just think its ridiculous.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Aly RustomSEP. 15, 2016 - 09:06PM JST

That is the definition of "aggravated sexual assault of a child" in California. Not all rape is included.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That is the definition of "aggravated sexual assault of a child" in California. Not all rape is included.

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent.[1][2][3] The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.[4]

If you read the rest of the article, it shows that the definition evolved over the years. A more modern definition and consistent with the times we live in is below.

Today, in many countries, the definition of the actus reus has been extended to all forms of penetration of the vagina and anus (e.g. penetration with objects, fingers or other body parts) as well as insertion of the penis in the mouth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape#Definitions_and_evolution_of_laws

I think this is as good a definition as you can find anywhere..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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