Groups urge early enactment of tougher sex crime laws

Groups that support victims of sexual misconduct have urged an early enactment of Japan's tougher sex crime laws as the Diet is set to start deliberations on draft revisions on Tuesday.

Lawyers for the support groups and the head of the Japan Federation of Aviation Industry Unions submitted the requests to Justice Minister Saito Ken on Monday.

The draft revisions include the introduction of a new law against taking sexually exploitative photos or videos and providing them to a third party.

Another proposal is to criminalize sex with children under the age of 16 by raising the legal age of consent from 13.

Naito Akira, chairman of the aviation trade union association, later spoke to reporters.

He said a survey of flight attendants in Japan last year shows that about 70 percent of the respondents said their photos had been or likely had been taken secretly.

Naito demanded the early enactment of new legislation against indecent photos or videos, saying such acts inside an airplane are not subject to penalties under the current laws.

Lawyer Yamada Hiroshi said he hopes the proper application of the revised laws will help change public awareness of sex crimes, and deter such offenses. He said he also hopes Diet debate will make sure the new legislation will be effective.

Deliberations on the draft revisions will start at a Lower House plenary session on Tuesday.