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The revision of Japan’s DV law and Anti-stalking Act

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Changes: DV law- its coverage has been expanded from spouses to unmarried couples who live together. 
Anti-Stalking law- Sending email is included in the definition of “stalking” which is regulated by the law.

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The revision of Japan’s DV law and Anti-stalking Act

  1. 1. The revision of Japan’s DV law and Anti-stalking Act Tomoko Endo Social Inclusion Support Center
  2. 2. DV law and Anti-stalking Act have been revised  June 2013, Japan’s DV law and Anti-stalking Act have been revised.  The DV law has been revised three times, and this is the first time the Anti-stalking law has been revised.  The legislation against Violence against Women in Japan is very inadequate.  At the moment we only have these two laws.
  3. 3. The major points of the current revision  DV law: its coverage has been expanded from spouses to unmarried couples who live together.  Anti-Stalking law: Sending email is included in the definition of “stalking” which is regulated by the law. The local public safety commission in the offender’s residential area is now able to warn offenders.
  4. 4. We consider these revisions unsatisfactory.  We can’t say it is a drastic revision. However, this revision was created through the private shelters’ NPO movement in a tough political situation where female politicians are very few.  The percentage of female members of the national parliament is about 10%
  5. 5. The legislation process: Domestic Violence Law  In 2001, a law to prevent Domestic Violence was enacted through the initiative women diet members and private shelter staff.  However, its coverage was limited to “Spousal Violence” between married couples.  In the past two revisions made in 2004 and 2007, we could not expand its coverage to “Intimate Partner Violence” occurring in non-marital relationships.
  6. 6. The legislation process: Domestic Violence Law  The points of the past two revisions are: ①Covered children as targets of the Protection Order ②Included psychological violence as a target of the Protection Order. ③Made it an obligation of prefectural governments to draw up an action plan.  There still are many issues to overcome.
  7. 7. Pending issues of the DV Act  Need to expand targets to: Intimate non-cohabiting partners; Same-gender partners, etc.  Must assign private shelters and support organizations to become operating bodies based on the law. (In Japan, they are public shelters are mainly run by government organizations)  Need to implement offender rehabilitation programs  Need to make violence prevention education/training compulsory  Need to introduce Emergency Protection Order  Offer financial support to victims  Extend temporary protection (Now only 2 weeks)  Make Intimate Partner Violence a Crime
  8. 8. The legislation process: Anti-stalking Act  Legislated by concerned Diet members as the Okegawa stalker incident (Saitama) aroused public awareness against stalking.  Despite a clause to review the law after 3 years, no effort was made until this year.  The revision was difficult because victims/survivors and supporters were not organized.  Police did not recognize stalking as a serious issue of violence so it was not given priority.
  9. 9. Pending issues of the Anti-stalking Act ① Police to decide whether the law is applicable to each case (Submitting a complaint is not enough) ②Protection order cannot be used ③Cannot offer emergency protection or shelters ④The police has no manual to deal with Sexual assault crimes. ⑤ Cannot deter actual violence. ⑥There is no regular training for the entire police force.
  10. 10. Key serious incidents of violence against women in Japan  When: Nov. 6, 2012  Where: Living rm. Of an apartment (Zushi, Kanagawa Pref. )  Who: Victim: Designer, Female, stabbed to death by exboyfriend 40 y.o. Male, of Tokyo.  Offender hung himself from the 2 fl. window of the same apartment.  Victim received 100 e-mails daily, and reported to the police but could not get a protection order. The offender used a detective service to find her home. This incident triggered the enactment of the Anti-stalking law.
  11. 11. Key serious incidents of violence against women in Japan  When: Oct. 8, 2013  Where: Mitaka, Tokyo  Victim: 18 y.o. Female high school student  Offender: Killed by ex-boyfriend.  He sent e-mails threatening to kill, and was stalking around her house. She and family consulted the police repeatedly but could not prevent it.  He sneaked into her house and hid in the closet to wait for her to come home. This incident occurred just after the revision.
  12. 12. Key serious incidents of violence against women in Japan  When: Dec. 21, 2006  Where: Yoshinogawa, Tokushima Prefecture, southern Japan.  Who: 40 y.o female , killed by separated husband. Tokushima Regional Court issued a protection Order due to his continuous violence. (Restraining order). Husband raged over the issuing of the Order, used a detective service to track his wife and killed her.
  13. 13. key serious incidents of violence against women in Japan  When: Feb 10, 2010  Where: Ishinomaki, Miyagi Pref.  Offender: Minor Male  Victim: Sister and friends of Ex girlfriend (both 18 y.o. at the time )  He came to the victim’s parents house and killed her elder sister and a high-school friend, and severely wounded a male friend. They were not married but had an infant together.  The family consulted the police many times but Protection order was not issued since they were non-cohabiting minors.
  14. 14. Revisions needed in the Japanese legal system  Violence against women occur incessantly.  Neither the DV Act or the Anti-stalking act are adequate.  Furthermore, there is no comprehensive legislation that aims to eradicate violence against women.  On the other hand, women in Japan have not reached a consensus yet, and have not yet acquired political force.  We need a movement to push for a comprehensive legislation to ban sexual assault as a whole, in the aim for legal reform regarding violence against women.

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