In this brief guide we will discuss the age of consent in Japan as well as the age of consent in various other places.
What is the Age of Consent in Japan?
The official age of consent in Japan is widely considered to be 13, but the age at which men can marry is 18, while the age at which women can marry is 16.
Furthermore, while the age of consent in Japan is 13, no one under the age of 20 can get married without parental consent, and even the age of consent becomes an issue in specific areas.
When talking about the official age of consent in Japan one needs to remember that it is the official age of consent, and there are some loopholes to the law.
Article 177 of the Japanese Penal Code, says that anyone who “commits sexual intercourse with a female under thirteen years of age” will receive a minimum of 3 years in prison, and no less, which means that if you have sex with anyone under 13 years old you have committed a crime.
This makes it pretty clear that the age of consent in Japan is 13, till you consider the part in the Child Welfare act that specifies a different kind of consent issue.
Under Article 34 of the Child Welfare Act, one might find the following information “No person shall conduct any of the following acts (…) act of fornication to children”.
Fornication in this context regers to sex with an individual to which one is not married, and ‘children’ refers to anyone under 18 years of age, which means that having unmarried sex with anyone under the age of 16 is illegal and will be subject to criminal punishment.
Because the age of consent for marriage in Japan for females is 16, if one engages in a sexual relationship with a girl that is younger than 16, it means that they are committing a crime, and it is punishable by prison sentence.
Moreover, many prefectures (Japanese States or territories) also have local “corruption of minors” or “obscenity statutes” (淫行条例) which raise the de-facto age of consent to 16-18, with the exception of people who are in a “sincere romantic relationship”.
These are usually determined by parental consent, for example, the effective age of consent in Tokyo by local statute is 18. The age of marriage is 16 for girls and 18 for boys with parental permission, and 20 otherwise.
The questions about age of consent also raise questions about what the prosecution laws might be for people who are both minors or young, would they be prosecuted too if one of them was much younger?
This type of prosecution is usually avoided by laws that are known as Close in age exemptions, which are commonly known as “Romeo and Juliet laws” in the United States.
These close in age exemption laws to age of consent laws are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other and one or both partners are below the age of consent.
However, there is no close-in-age exemption in Japan, therefore it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 13 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape, but this is a rare thing and usually does not happen.
Also, similar protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 12 year old and the second is a 13 or 14 year old, but these things are usually not prosecuted either.
There may be instances where parental consent is withdrawn, and in that case, people may misuse these laws to hold one of the individuals who engaged in relations accountable, but again, this is rare.
Age of Consent in Japan: Child Welfare Laws
The age of consent law in Japan is mediated heavily through the Child Welfare Laws, and even though the official age of consent is 13 the Child Welfare Law makes it 16 through legalese.
The Child Welfare Laws in Japan basically state that anyone below the age of 16 is not at a marriageable age and at the same time unmarried sexual relations with them are prohibited, which automatically means that the age of consent in Japan becomes 16, and not 13.
Other parts of the Child Welfare Laws in Japan apart from the age of consent issue are:
- A child with physical disabilities or morphological abnormalities cannot be put on public show
- One cannot cause a child to act as a beggar, or beg by exploiting a child;
- One cannot cause a child under 15 years of age to perform acrobatics or stunt horse riding for the purpose of public entertainment;
- One cannot cause a child under 15 years of age to engage in such money earning acts as singing, dancing, tricks and other performances from house to house or on the road, or in other equivalent places;
Additionally, one cannot:
- Cause a child under 15 years of age to engage in such money earning acts as entertaining at an alcoholic party;
- Cause a child to commit an obscene act;
- Deliver a child knowingly to a person who is likely to commit any of the acts listed in the preceding items or a person who is likely to commit any other act violating laws and regulations concerning criminal punishment toward a child, or deliver a child to other person with the knowledge of a risk of further delivery of the child to a person who is likely to commit any of the acts as listed above;
- Arrange taking care of a child for the purpose of profit, if it is arranged by a person other than legitimate employment agencies for adults and children; or
- Keep a child under one’s control, with the intent of causing the child to commit an act making an impact that is mentally and physically harmful to the child.
Another concept related to the age of consent that comes into effect with the Child Welfare act in Japan is The Child Abuse Prevention Act and the Juvenile Education and Protection Act.
These two acts have been abolished but the essence of these acts and the laws they put into place through the Child Welfare Act and they are enforced through the Child Welfare Act.
Raising the Age of Consent in Japan
There has recently been a petition by some students to raise the age of consent in Japan, which is not surprising given that it has been a very old law that has somehow persisted through time.
The group of university students who submitted a petition to the Justice Ministry on Nov. 20 are requesting that the age of consent be raised from the current 13 to 16.
The group called Your Voice Matters and like everything else these days, the petition was started on the internet, and even to their surprise it ended up collecting about 40,000 signatures, and it was addressed to Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa.
A 21-year-old senior at Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo Prefecture who is a member of the group said she realized the age of consent was set so low when she began studying the issue in university.
She says, “I was very surprised, There were many people who signed the petition who also said they first realized what the consent age was through this effort. It is important to raise the age of consent in order to protect minors who are still immature physically and psychologically from sex crimes in light of the fact sexual intercourse is not taught during compulsory education.”
According to Japanese laws, anyone who has sex with a minor under 13 can be arrested for statutory rape under the Criminal Law, but to charge someone with sex crimes for having intercourse with a person over the age of 13 requires proof of violent action or threats.
Worse yet, in this case the victim must explain the extent to which they resisted in order to bring a charge of sexual assault, which is extremely damaging to the child who just underwent a trauma.
Age of Consent in Other Countries
Here are the ages of consent in other countries in Asia and some around the world:
- Kuwait: Must be married
- Maldives: Must be married
- Pakistan: Must be married
- Afghanistan: Must be married
- Saudi Arabia: Must be married
- United Arab Emirates: Must be married
- Philippines: 12
- Japan: 13
- China: 14
- Myanmar: 14
- Bangladesh: 14
- East Timor: 14
- Laos: 15
- Syria: 15
- Cambodia: 15
- Thailand: 15
- North Korea: 15
- Nepal: 16
- Brunei: 16
- Iran: Must be married
- Oman: Must be married
- Qatar: Must be married
- Yemen: Must be married
- Israel: 16
- Jordan: 16
- Taiwan : 16
- Malaysia: 16
- Mongolia: 16
- Indonesia: 16
- Singapore: 16
- Sri Lanka: 16
- India: 18
- Bhutan: 18
- Lebanon: 18
- Vietnam: 18
- Kyrgyzstan: 16
- Tajikistan: 16
- Iraq: 18
- South Korea: 20
- Bahrain: 21
In this brief guide we discussed the age of consent in Japan as well as the age of consent in various other places.
Age of consent is very important because it serves to protect the young people in a society so that they may not have to engage in any relationships that they are not ready for.
Furthermore, age of consent is also necessary to make sure that children do not fall prey to predatory behavior without the sexual predators being held accountable for their actions.
If you have any more questions or comments about the age of consent in Japan or the age of consent in other places, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Age of Consent in Japan
Is the age of consent in Japan really 13?
Yes, the age of consent in Japan is really 13.
The age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity and their partner is not held accountable for their actions.
Can a 16 year old date a 20 year old in Japan?
Yes, a 16 year old can date a 20 year old in Japan, because their age of consent is 13, and even their legal marriage age is 18 and 16 for the male partner and female partner respectively.
However, even if a 16 year old can date a 20 year old in Japan, they cannot get married without the parent’s approval as long as someone is under 20.
What is the age of consent in Japan 2020?
The age of consent in japan in 2020 is still 13.
The Penal Code of Japan was established in 1907 and the age of consent at that time was set to be at 13, which has not changed yet in 2020.
What is the lowest age of consent?
The lowest age of consent is 11, and this rule is followed in Africa: Nigeria.
In other parts of Southern Africa, including Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the age of consent is 16. Then there are some other places where the age of consent is not specified, like in Libya and Sudan, but marriage is legally required before sex is allowed.
Japan is poised to raise the age of consent from 13 to 16 in an overhaul of legislation prompted by criticism that existing laws fail to protect children from rape and other sexual offences.What is Japanese age of consent? ›
As of now, Japan has the lowest age of consent in developed countries as well as among the G7 countries where 13-year-old children are old enough to consent. A Japanese justice ministry panel proposed raising the age of consent in the country from 13 to 16.Why is Japan's age of consent so low? ›
The Japanese gang law solves the problems of rape and sexual relations. Article 177 of these laws stipulates that anyone who has sex with a woman under the age of 13 will be sentenced to three years' imprisonment.Can a 16 date a 20 in Japan? ›
The age of consent in the prefectures ranges from 16 to 18 years, and it is illegal to engage in sexual activities with partners who are below this age unless a parent approves of the romantic relationship. In Tokyo, for example, a person has to be at least 18 years to agree to have any form of sexual relations.What is age of consent in China? ›
Age of Consent in China
China statutory rape law is violated when an individual has consensual sexual contact with a person under age 14, regardless of sexual orientation or gender. Pnnishment is more severe if younger party is both under age 14 and was acting as a prostitute.
The Age of Consent in Russia is 16 years old. The age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity.Is 13 a minor in Japan? ›
The Penal Code of Japan provides that an act of a person under 14 years of age is not punishable. Under the Juvenile Law of Japan, however, "juvenile" (shonen) refers to anyone under 20 years of age.What is the age of consent in Korea? ›
To strengthen the protection of minors, South Korea has revised its age of consent from 13 to 16. Under the new law, adults who have intercourse with individuals younger than 16 will be prosecuted for child sexual abuse, or rape.What is the age of consent in Germany? ›
The lowest minimum age is 14 years, set in seven Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Portugal. The highest is set at 18 years – in Malta. About half of the Member States apply different age limits to sexual acts between young persons.Does Japan have the lowest age of consent? ›
Japan looks set to criminalize sex with teens under age 16 in an overhaul of its sex crime laws. A panel of the Japanese justice ministry on Friday proposed raising the country's age of consent from 13—the lowest among developed nations—to 16.
The second-highest age of consent is 20 in South Korea, while the majority of other countries have an Age of Consent between 16 and 18. The lowest Age of Consent in the world is 11, in Nigeria. The age of consent is 12 in the Philippines and Angola, and 13 in Burkina Faso, Comoros, Niger, and Japan.What is age of consent in India? ›
Over time, the age of consent has been increased by various laws in India and was 16 from 1940 until 2012, when the Pocso Act raised the age of consent to 18 years, one of the highest ages globally.Can high schoolers marry in Japan? ›
Who Can Get Married in Japan? Article 731 to 737 of the Japanese Civil Code stipulates the following requirements: The male partner must be 18 years of age or older and the female partner must be 18 years of age or older. A person who is under 18 years of age cannot get married in Japan without a parent's approval.Is 13 the age of consent in South Korea? ›
According to South Korea's Criminal Act Article 305, the age of consent in South Korea is 20 years old. This is one of the oldest ages of consent in the world. Previously, the age of consent in South Korea was 13, one of the lowest in the world.Is 13 the age of consent in the UK? ›
In each UK nation, the age at which people can legally consent to sexual activity (also known as the age of consent) is 16-years-old.What is the age of consent in Australia? ›
The legal age for consensual sex varies between 16 and 17 years across Australian state and territory jurisdictions (see Table 2). For other sexual activities, the criminal legislation relating to different types of sexual behaviours and interactions varies across Australian jurisdictions. Tas. Vic.What is the age of consent in Cuba? ›
Cuba. The age of consent in Cuba is 16.What is the age of consent in Brazil? ›
Brazil. In Brazil, the age of consent is 14, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Although not legally formalized, there is judicial precedent allowing a close-in-age exception for those aged 12–13 to engage in sexual activity with partners who are as much as 5 years older.What is the age of consent in Ukraine? ›
Sexual intercourse and other activities of a sexual nature with persons under 16 years of age are illegal under Articles 155 and 156 of the Criminal Code, punishable by deprivation of liberty for up to five years.What is the consent age in Afghanistan? ›
Age of Consent: Same as age of marriage (18 for males, 16 for females) All sexual acts outside of marriage are illegal.
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act B.E. 2551 (2008) Sec. 4 “Child” means any person under eighteen years of age. Age of Consent: 15 years old Criminal Code of Thailand Sec.What age can a girl get married in Japan? ›
Under the Japanese Civil Code the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years for boys and 16 years for girls. A person who is under 20 years of age cannot get married in Japan without parental approval. From 2022, the legal age of marriage for girls and boys will be 18 years.Is 16 a minor in China? ›
Article 2 For the purposes of this Law, minors mean citizens under the age of 18. Article 3 The State shall guarantee minors' right to life, the right to development, the right to being protected and the right to participation.Can minors drink in Japan? ›
Especially for people who hail from countries where drinking and smoking starts at 18, the age restrictions in Japan for buying and drinking alcohol, as well as the smoking age in Japan, may be surprising: You must be 20 years old and in possession of a valid ID (for foreigners, a residence card will do).What is the age of consent in Vietnam? ›
Age of Consent: 18 years Vietnam Criminal Code Art. 143, paragraph 4 Any person who employs trickery to make his care-dependent or a person in extreme need to reluctantly engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual activities shall face a penalty of 01 - 05 years' imprisonment.What is the age of consent in Scotland? ›
The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 maintains the age of consent at 16 and provides that any sexual activity between an adult and a child and young person constitutes a criminal offence. Sexual intercourse and oral sex between children and young people under the age of 16 also remains unlawful.What country has the age of consent at 12? ›
The legal age at which a person can agree to a sexual relationship in Nigeria is 11 years. This consensual age is the lowest across the globe. The Philippines and Angola follow closely with the age of consent in both countries being 12 years.What is the lowest age of consent USA? ›
In the majority of states (34), it is 16 years of age. In the remaining states, the age of consent is either 17 or 18 years old (6 and 11 states, respectively). Note: Some states have marital exemptions. This Table assumes the two parties are not married to one another.What is the oldest age of consent around the world? ›
By contrast, Bahrain has the highest age of consent in the world, at 21. South America: In Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador, the age of consent is 14, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.Where is the lowest age of consent in America? ›
Most of the states start at the age of 16, However, Arizona, North Dakota, Oregon and Virginia states has minimum age of victim is 15.
In Japan, the legal adult age is 20. Japanese law prohibits individuals under the age of 20 to drink alcohol or smoke.What is the divorce rate in Japan? ›
First-cousin marriage is allowed in Japan , though the incidence has declined in recent years. China has prohibited first-cousin marriage since 1981, although cross-cousin marriage was commonly practised in China in the past in rural areas.What is the legal age in Philippines? ›
The Philippines has raised its age of sexual consent from 12 years to 16 years.Can a 40 year old sleep with a 16 year old? ›
This means that it's against the law for someone to have sex with someone under the age of 16. It wouldn't be illegal for someone who's 16 to have a relationship with someone who is 30 - unless that person is their teacher or in a position of authority. - feel equal, safe and trust one another.What country has lowest consent age? ›
The lowest age of consent is 9 years for Maldives and 12 years for Angola, Mexico, Philippines, South Sudan and Sudan, which is the minimum age in the world. The age of consent in the United States varies from 16 to 18.What's the lowest age of consent in the world? ›
All Member States establish a minimum age for sexual consent. Most Member States set this between 14 and 16 years. The lowest minimum age is 14 years, set in seven Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Portugal. The highest is set at 18 years – in Malta.How old can you marry in Japan? ›
Who Can Get Married in Japan? Article 731 to 737 of the Japanese Civil Code stipulates the following requirements: The male partner must be 18 years of age or older and the female partner must be 18 years of age or older. A person who is under 18 years of age cannot get married in Japan without a parent's approval.What is age of consent in Korea? ›
    Although the age of consent is 15, the offender can only be charged and prosecuted if a complaint is filed with law enforcement authorities. An exception to this law is if the age of the victim is less than 12 years old or in certain circumstances such as assault or incest.What is the highest age of consent in us? ›
Each U.S. state has its own general age of consent. As of August 1, 2018, the age of consent in each state in the United States is either 16 years of age, 17 years of age, or 18 years of age. The most common age of consent is 16, which is a common age of consent in most other Western countries.
Over time, the age of consent has been increased by various laws in India and was 16 from 1940 until 2012, when the Pocso Act raised the age of consent to 18 years, one of the highest ages globally. A vast majority of countries set their ages in the range of 14 to 16 years.What is considered a minor in Mexico? ›
The following people also DO REQUIRE proper authorization or a letter of consent from their parents or legal guardians, if they are a minor (under 18 years of age) and are travelling alone or with a third party of legal age: Mexican nationals residing in Mexico.What is the age of consent in Pakistan? ›
Age of Consent: 18 years Pakistan Penal Code Child Abuse Amendment Act Art. 377A.