TOKYO – Japanese women are protesting for the sixth time in as many months as anger mounts over “outdated” rape laws. The protests come after a Japanese man was acquitted despite raping his daughter for years.
A court acknowledged the father had sexually abused his daughter from around the age 13 to 19. He was acquitted because Japanese law requires prosecutors to prove there was overwhelming force; a threat; or that the victim was completely incapacitated.
The verdict is being appealed, but it sparked outrage with women across Japan.
An online petition demanding that any sex without consent be defined as rape was signed by more than 47,000 Japanese women. The petition was submitted to the justice ministry.
The court acknowledged in the latest incest case that the girl had been forced to have intercourse “against her will” by her father. But it said it was unclear whether she was “incapable of resisting”, so her father was acquitted of rape.
Japanese Women’s Right Almost Non-Existent
Meanwhile the global #MeToo has struggled to take off in Japan, like it has in other parts of the world.
Calls to protect women seem to be winning support, with hundreds expected to rally holding symbolic flowers in 20 cities nationwide on Wednesday.
Many activists see the law as part of a broader gender problem in Japan. Which, despite relatively high rates of female education, Japan remains unequal in many ways.
Sexist norms remain embedded in the legal system and systematically undermine women’s rights.
In 2017, Japan revised the criminal code on sexual offenses for the first time in 110 years, recognizing male victims, and increasing the punishment for rape from a minimum of three years to five.
But the requirement that a Japanese woman prove they could not resist assault remained unchanged.
Source: Japan Times