Proposed revision, which allows for consummation of “serious relationships,” would actually be stricter than existing ordinance.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Japan has a comparatively lenient attitude about adults becoming romantically involved with teenagers. That’s not to say, however, that the Japanese legal system doesn’t try to implement any sort of safeguards against young people being taken advantage of.

For example, Osaka Prefecture’s Youth Healthy Development Ordinance prohibits “lewd acts” between an adult and a person under the age of 18 (though full-status legal adulthood in Japan doesn’t begin until the age of 20). However, Osaka’s ordinance has some pretty big loopholes, because even if an adult does engage in sexual activity with a minor, they face no punishment unless said activity was entered into because they threatened or lied to the underage partner.

As a result, Osaka has a much lower rate of criminal prosecution for such offenses than other prefectures in Japan. Troubled by this, the Osaka prefectural assembly is discussing possible amendments to the law, and at its February meeting the following changes were proposed:

● Even if no threats or lies are involved, adults will be forbidden from entering into lewd acts with partners under 18 if their only objective is the satisfaction of sexual desire.
Romantic associations other than a serious relationship will be illegal.

In other words, if you’re a legal adult, Osaka would no longer like you to sleep with underage teenagers…unless you really like each other, that is.

It’s currently unclear what the legal criteria for “serious relationship” would be. Calling each other by your first names plus -chan? Taking more than three sets of sticker pictures together? Breaking off the relationships with any other teenagers you thought were attractive, but don’t like as much as your number-one underage crush?

Really, it’s hard to see how the legal system can judge whether or not a relationship is “serious,” just how it’s hard to see how the proposed amendment, even if passed, is going to provide much, if any, extra protection to minors.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun via Livedoor News via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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