Japan’s lower house of Parliament passed a law which will make it a criminal offense for an adult to have sex with a minor. The measure also outlawed the production, distribution, sale, and possession of child pornography.
Currently, Japanese law bans the solicitation of sex for money with children aged 13 or younger. Persons found guilty of violating this ban escape rape charges except in instances where the victim files a criminal complaint. Given the social stigma of rape in Japan, such prosecutions are rare.
Persons found guilty of having a sexual relationship with a minor age 17 or under could face up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $8,100. The child pornography legislation imposes the same maximum prison sentence, and a much-larger fine of up to $24,400.
Japan’s government has been accused of ignoring widespread sex tourism and Internet child pornography, and that criticism likely spurred the new law, which will take effect this fall.