Japan to Work Out Strengthened Measures to Prevent Sexual Abuse Against Young People

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Prime Minister’s Office<

The government plans to strengthen measures to prevent sexual abuse against schoolchildren and young people by as early as mid-July, it was learned Tuesday.

Masanobu Ogura, the state minister for measures related to the declining birth rate, chaired a meeting of 10 ministries and agencies to discuss the measures in the wake of alleged sexual abuse by Johnny Kitagawa, the late founder of major entertainment agency Johnny & Associates Inc. Officials from the Children and Families Agency and the Cabinet Office, which is in charge of measures against sexual crimes, were among those in attendance. They plan to hear from victims and experts to discuss ways to strengthen counseling and support systems.

According to a survey conducted by the Gender Equality Bureau Cabinet Office, 26% of people aged 16 to 24 have experienced sexual assaults, including physical contact and verbal harassment. About 80% of victims of forced sexual intercourse in 2022 were people in their 20s or younger, and the number of the victims aged 12 or younger is said to have increased about 1.4 times since 2018.

Plans for a bill to revise the Penal Code were also discussed at the meeting. The revision will reportedly change the act of “forced sexual intercourse” to “nonconsensual sexual intercourse,” with the aim of clarifying when the law can be applied, such as the “use of one’s economic and social position.”