Japan's welfare ministry will open a new women's support office in April for victims of domestic and sexual violence as well as sufferers of financial hardship and other problems, ministry officials said.
The ministry will secure 10 full-time staff for the office, which will be established under its social welfare bureau to deal with women's issues more comprehensively amid a rise in such problems as being forced to work in the adult film industry among other forms of sexual exploitation, they said.
Currently, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare only has three staff dedicated to women's issues in its Child and Family Policy Bureau, who deal mostly with cases such as financially struggling young single mothers.
Japan's parliament last May passed a bill for a law to enhance public support for women facing difficult issues such as poverty and domestic violence, with the welfare ministry strengthening coordination with local governments, nonprofit organizations and other support groups ahead of the law's enactment in April 2024.
At present, the system of support for women is based on the country's 1956 anti-prostitution law, which is aimed at protecting those who feel their only way out of their situation is through prostitution.
The new law is meant to take into account female victims of sexual or domestic violence who may not have a place to live or are in debt, and help them toward leading independent lives.© KYODO