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Concluding Observations, CCPR/C/JPN/CO/6, 23 July 2014: Japan

B. Positive aspects

3. The Committee welcomes the following legislative and institutional steps taken by the State party:

(a) The adoption of the Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, in December 2009;

(b) The approval of the Third Basic Plan for Gender Equality, in December 2010;

(c) The amendment of the Publicly Operated Housing Act in 2012, to the effect that same-sex couples are no longer excluded from the publicly operated housing system;

Gender-based and domestic violence

10. The Committee regrets that, despite its previous recommendations, the State party has not made any progress in broadening the scope of the definition of rape in the Criminal Code, setting the age of sexual consent above 13 years and prosecuting rape and other sexual offences ex officio. It notes with concern that domestic violence remains prevalent, that the process to issue protection orders is too lengthy and that the number of perpetrators who are punished for that offence is very low. The Committee is concerned by reports of the insufficient protection provided to same-sex couples and immigrant women (arts. 3, 6, 7 and 26).

In line with the Committee’s previous recommendations (see CCPR/C/JPN/CO/5, paras. 14 and 15) the State party should take concrete action to prosecute rape and other crimes of sexual violence ex officio, raise without further delay the age of consent for sexual activities and review the elements of the crime of rape, as established in the Third Basic Plan for Gender Equality. The State party should intensify its efforts to ensure that all reports of domestic violence, including in samesex couples, are thoroughly investigated; that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions; and that victims have access to adequate protection, including through the granting of emergency protective orders and preventing immigrant women who are victims of sexual violence from losing their visa status.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

11. The Committee is concerned about reports of social harassment and stigmatization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and discriminatory provisions that exclude same-sex couples from the municipally operated housing system (arts. 2 and 26).

The State party should adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that prohibits discrimination on all grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and provides victims of discrimination with effective and appropriate remedies. The State party should intensify its awareness-raising activities to combat stereotypes and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, investigate allegations of harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and take appropriate measures to prevent such stereotypes, prejudice and harassment. It should also remove the remaining restrictions in terms of eligibility criteria applied to same-sex couples with respect to publicly operated housing services at the municipal level.

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CCPR-Japan-2014-eng