Japan seeks to toughen rape penalties

Tokyo, June 16: A Japanese government advisory panel on Thursday decided to recommend tougher sentences for rape as well as making the offence easier to prosecute and widening its definition.

The statutory minimum penalty for rape should be raised to imprisonment of five years from three, putting it on a par with punishment for robbery, according to the panel, a subcommittee of the Legislative Council.


The move follows criticism that rape has been treated more leniently than robbery in Japan, the Japan Times reported.

The advisory panel also decided to seek removal of a clause that prevents prosecutors from filing a rape charge without receiving a criminal complaint from the victim.

The panel is expected to hand over the recommendations to the minister by the end of this year.

The panel has also planned to recommend extending the charge of rape to parents or other guardians who have sex with minors in their charge who are younger than 18 years old even without violence or threat.

The penalty for rape resulting in injury or death, meanwhile, should be raised to at least six years in prison from at least five years, the panel added.


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