Lower house passes bill to toughen penalties for sex crimes

The bill, which won unanimous approval at a plenary session, calls for changing the definition of the crime of rape so that men, in addition to women, can be recognized as victims.

The name of the crime in the code will also be changed from “gokan” to a name meaning forcible sexual intercourse. The old name will disappear from the Penal Code for the first time since the code was established in 1907.

The crime of forcible sexual intercourse will cover some criminal acts currently categorized as forcible indecency. The minimum prison term for the crime will rise from three years to five years, the same as the minimum term for murder.

The House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, approved on Thursday a bill to revise the Penal Code to impose tougher penalties for sex crimes. (Jiji)

Some 70 countries and regions including Japan signed Wednesday a multilateral treaty to prevent tax avoidance by multinational companies. (Jiji)

Before the arrival of the sweltering summer in Japan, “melt-proof” ice cream has been launched, while the development of soft serve “hot” cream also defies conventional wisdom. (Jiji)

A police sergeant was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing his wife found dead Tuesday in Fukuoka Prefecture. (Japan Times)

In their 83 years of existence, the Yomiuri Giants have never had a stretch quite this bad. (Japan Times)

Japan’s current account surplus grew 7.5% on the year in April to 1.95 trillion yen ($17.7 billion), the highest for the month in 10 years, according to data released Thursday by the Ministry of Finance. (Nikkei)

The Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka plans to add a new area featuring Nintendo characters and worlds, which was unveiled at a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday. (Japan Times)

Kanagawa Prefectural Police have arrested the representative director of the company that manages a long-running chain of live music venues over the alleged sale of marijuana, reports TBS News (tokyoreporter.com)

A special committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament, on Wednesday passed government-sponsored special legislation for Emperor Akihito’s abdication. (Jiji)

The number of households on welfare in Japan in March increased by 2,588 from the previous month to hit a record high of 1,641,523, up for the first time in three months, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Wednesday. (Japan Times)

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