Mainichi Interactive - Top News
Japan set to criminalize gang rape
The first major revision to Japan's criminal penalties in almost 100 years is set to include jail terms for gang rapists, according to the Justice Ministry.
The planned revision to the Penal Code, introduced in 1907, has been prompted by demands from crime victims for more serious punishments.
Following a headline-making case of gang rape committed by students from prestigious Waseda University, the Justice Ministry has called for criminalization of gang rape for the first time in Japan.
Under the revision program tabled to an expert panel for discussion, the ministry plans to institute at least four years imprisonment for gang rape.
The proposal apparently also includes increasing maximum prison terms for serious crimes such as murder, rape committed alone, assault causing injury, and molestation.The maximum term for an individual who commits more than two of these crimes is set to be increased from 20 years to 30 years.
Thanks to the improvement in identification procedures using state-of-the art technology, the ministry also plans to give law enforcers to more time than now to charge criminals.
The ministry plans to submit a bill for the revision program to the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Law after the expert panel issues an opinion report.(Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, Feb. 11, 2004)
This is interesting for a lot of reasons. Read the whole article, and you'll find penalties for "molestation" are being toughened in addition to criminalizing gang rape.
For those who don't know, there is a very disturbing sub culture of men who will feel up, harass and just about rape women on the big city subways of Japan. I don't know how wide spread this is, but stopping the practice has been hindered by a lack of laws against the practice, and the difficulty in catching some anonymous hands violating a woman who is facing the other way, and unable to turn around due to the confines of the train.
I've heard of books on how to molest women that are popular in Japan, and proponents of the activity who go on talk shows to advocate their actions.
All in all, it's a pretty depressing situation for women in Japan. Hopefully this will be a significant step to fight sexual violence against women.