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A recent series of court rulings on sex crimes that cleared the alleged offenders has raised questions about the legal provisions that critics say create an onerous burden for establishing the crime of forced sexual intercourse. In a March ruling by the Okazaki branch of the Nagoya District Court, a man in Aichi Prefecture accused of sexually assaulting his 19-year-old daughter in 2017 was found not guilty because, even though the intercourse was against the daughter’s will, it could not be proven that it was impossible for her to resist.

Under the Penal Code, the lack of a victim’s consent to intercourse alone does not establish the crime of forced or quasi-forced sexual intercourse. It needs to be proven that the victim suffered violence or threat by the offender that made it extremely difficult to resist the intercourse. In court, it is often contested how strongly the victim resisted.

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