• Kyodo, JIJI

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A high court on Thursday sentenced a 50-year-old man to 10 years in prison for raping his 19-year-old daughter in 2017, scrapping a controversial lower court ruling that acquitted him last year.

The main focus of the trial had been on whether the daughter was able to resist her father, and the Nagoya High Court recognized the victim was unable to do so in handing down the sentence.

The daughter was “deprived of her will to resist the father and was in a psychological state where it was extremely difficult to reject his demands,” after she had continued to be sexually abused by him since she was a junior high school second grader, presiding Judge Mitsuru Horiuchi said.

“The man committed the despicable crime by taking advantage of her condition,” the judge said, adding, “The physical and psychological pain she suffered is extremely severe and serious, as the perpetrator is her real father.”

In March last year, the Okazaki branch of the Nagoya District Court recognized she had sex with her father against her will, but it acquitted him, ruling that she could have resisted if she wanted. It concluded that there was a reasonable doubt about whether the daughter was able to resist as she previously refused sex with her father.

But the high court rejected the district court branch’s conclusion, saying that the branch very strictly interpreted, without reason, conditions for recognizing a state in which resistance was impossible.

“I have been full of frustration for being harmed by my own father,” the daughter said in a statement after Thursday’s ruling. “I finally feel a little relieved.”

The lower court ruling, along with similar acquittals the same month over sexual assault cases, triggered the Flower Demo, a nationwide grassroots movement to protest the court decisions and eradicate sexual violence.

The father was indicted for sexually assaulting the daughter at his office in August 2017 and at a hotel in September that year.

During the trial, prosecutors claimed that years of sexual abuse by the man had robbed the victim of her will to resist or refuse.

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