Blue Ribbon

(October 10)


New Metro law bans adult sex with minors

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government adopted a new law Thursday to penalize adults who have sexual relations with teenagers in exchange for money or other valuables.
After the law was enacted at the assembly plenary session at 2 p.m., 60 workers from the metropolitan government, Shinjuku Ward Office and other citizens groups gathered at Shinjuku's Kabuki-cho district to distribute to male adults and teenage girls a campaign flyer explaining that adults who violate the law will be given a prison term of less than one year and a fine of under 500,000 yen.
Having sex with teenagers through the introduction of a third party will also violate the law, which takes effect Dec. 16.
"The Tokyo government had long been discussing the creation of an ordinance to do something about teenage prostitution, including 'enjo kosai' (compensated dating).
"Considering that restricting teenagers' sexual activity is a very sensitive and private issue that might violate their human rights, the ordinance aims to penalize adults who buy sexual relations," metropolitan government spokesman Toshihiro Nakazawa said.
In 1988, a Tokyo government council on teenagers concluded that sexual acts should not be restricted by law, calling instead for moral education among high school students.
Hideo Ishijima at the Adolescent Guidance Center in Shinjuku said Tokyo and Nagano are the only prefectures with no law to restrict sex with teenagers.
"Because there has been no penalty against sex with teenagers, adult men come to Tokyo from across the country, including neighboring prefectures, to buy legal sex from teenage girls," Ishijima said.
He added that even after the law takes effect, it will be difficult for police to prove that an exchange of money or valuables has taken place or that the man knew the female was a minor.
A 54-year old man from Shinagawa Ward who was given the campaign flyer in Kabuki-cho said that he comes to Shinjuku every day after work to date young girls, and that the new law will mean little.
"There won't be much difference. Those high school girls will simply have to change from their school uniforms before they go out on the street," the man said.

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