Calls grow for Japan to raise age of consent to 16

The exact nature of the age of consent in Japan is something that crops up conversations about the country, and people often seem unsure of the facts.

As the Asahi clarifies, “anyone having sex with a minor under 13 can be arrested for statutory rape under the Criminal Law, but charging someone with sex crimes for having intercourse with a person over the age of 13 requires proof of violent action or threats.”

Japan’s law on consent is over a century old, though a revision in 2017, in an effort to protect vulnerable minors, made it a crime for guardians to have sex with a child under 18 regardless of consent.

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There are now growing calls for the age of consent to be raised from 13 to 16, as reported by Unseen Japan. Concretely, these include a proposal in June from Human Rights Now to raise the age of consent and tighten guidelines on what constitutes sexual assault, while a student group Your Voice Matters launched a petition that attracted 40,000 signatures and was submitted to the Justice Ministry in November.

Related hashtags on Twitter have also gained some traction, though the influence they will have on the Sex Crimes Review Committee as it completes its review of the current law is debatable.

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  • anon December 22, 2020

    Seems pretty pointless considering that it’s illegal to have sex with anyone under 18 in Japan anyway.

  • TheDude December 22, 2020

    Actually Anon it is much more complicated than you suggest. Each prefecture has its own laws on this.. So while the age of consent is 13 nationally, what you can do with a minor (should that be your cup of tea) depends on the location.
    The universal is that paying for sex with a minor is definitely illegal in every prefecture… However, assuming a consensual relationship, then it matters on the prefecture. Nagano is particularly infamous as they have no extra rules… So a 60 yr old guy can happily bang away on a 15 yr old as long as it is consensual and no compensation is given. Kanagawa is particularly tough from what I was told… I think in that case the gentleman would need written permission of at least one guardian (and this is why in Japan they need specific incest laws as pretty much by definition sick perverted dads would grant themselves permission to screw their young daughters (as long as they are 13 or older). But the point is….In certain circumstance jail bait does not lead to jail – but you have better be sure of your local ordinances. And if you are compensating, no need to ask, it is illegal.

  • anongpro December 23, 2020

    why is Okubo Sakurako in this article lmao

  • Tadashi Anahori (Post author) December 23, 2020


    Because we love her! And because for technical reasons, each article needs an image.

  • kikilala December 23, 2020

    i dont understand, i mean, the japanese have sex at 9 or 11 years old anyway, why is this matters?

  • AgainstHysteriaForReason December 27, 2020

    The age of consent is already de facto 18 in Japan. Anyone doing anything sexual with a person younger than that can be charged with Waisetsu. Basically, sexual acts are defined as obscene acts when the person is under 18. And as others have mentioned, every prefecture sets the age of consent higher than the technical national definition. (There is no basis for what ‘TheDude’ said about Nagano, above)

    The only exception that I’ve ever heard about is for marriage and “sincere relationships” where there is no hint of coercion or exploitation (ie, both people are sincerely looking ahead to marriage). And I agree with that exception because it still protects youths without criminalizing romances that happen to have an age difference.

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