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Japan Supreme Court rules sexual intention not necessary in indecent assault charges

[JURIST] Japan's Supreme Court [Official website] ruled [judgment, PDF, in Japanese] Wednesday that the crime of indecent assault does not require a sexual intention.

The case came before the supreme court after a man denied [Japan Times report] having sexual intent when he molested and took nude photos of a girl under the age of 13. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison by a lower court. The man stated that because he only took the pictures to send them to an acquaintance from whom he wanted to borrow money, he could not be convicted of indecent assault.

The ruling declares that sexual intentions are irrelevant in charges of indecent assault. The current case reverses a 1970 supreme court ruling that found a man could not be convicted of indecent assault after he took nude photos of a woman because he did not have sexual intentions.

The case has come after other countries have taken steps in the past year to increase legal protections of women against sexual assault and rape. In October India's Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that sex with a girl who is under the age of 18 is considered rape, regardless of the marital status of the girl. In December Lebanese law makers took steps to overturn [JURIST report] a law that allowed rapists to avoid prosecution if they married their victims.

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