To many survivors of childhood molestation in Japan, seeking retribution from their abusers has been unimaginably difficult.

By the time they are mentally and financially ready to confront their tormentors, the time for pursuing legal action has often long expired. Unlike in some other countries, courts in Japan do not suspend statutes of limitations or extend them so that sexual abuse victims can file lawsuits when, later in life, they come to grips with their suffering.

In that sense, a recent ruling handed down by the Sapporo High Court is no doubt a rarity. It declared a rape victim in her 40s eligible for ¥20 million in compensation, overturning a lower court decision that the statute of limitations in connection with the abuse she was seeking damages for had expired years earlier.