The Cabinet on Tuesday endorsed a bill on tougher sentencing, including raising the maximum prison term for a single crime to 20 years from the current 15, and establishing penal provisions for gang rape.
The bill would raise the minimum sentence for murder to five years from three years, and for injury resulting in death to three years from two years.
The government wants the Diet to pass the bill during the extraordinary session that convened Tuesday.
The bill would introduce a minimum penalty of four years in prison for gang rape, and six years to life for gang rape resulting in death or injury.
The current penal code has no specific provisions for gang rape. It stipulates a minimum penalty of two years for rape.
The proposed provisions were conceived in light of last year’s high-profile gang rape cases involving college students belonging to an event-planning club at Waseda University. Female participants were gang raped after becoming intoxicated at the club’s parties.
The maximum penalty for dangerous driving resulting in death or injury, including drunk driving, would be raised from 10 years to 15 under the bill.
The statutory limit for prosecution on alleged crimes with a maximum possible penalty of death will be extended by 10 years to 25 years.
The Cabinet also approved two other bills to reform the judiciary system, including changing allowances paid to judicial apprentices into loans and creating a mechanism for the justice minister to certify out-of-court settlements in civil conflicts.
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