Marriage in Japan


There are many people, who have the interest to know about the age of consent in Japan. The age of consent in Japan is 13 and the Japanese Penal Code stipulates this age of consent. The legal age considered to have agreed to sexual activities is 13 years old as of 2022. There are many countries that set the age of consent at 14 to 16. Since the panel code was enacted in 1907, the age of consent in Japan has not changed for a very long time- over 100 years. So, the UN adopted a finding recommendation in 2008 as they think this is not proper. The age of consent is related to marriage as well. To know more information about the marriage age in Japan, then read this article carefully.

The marriageable age in Japan

The legal marriageable age in Japan for women was raised from 16 to 18 in 2022. The marriageable age under the Civil Code is 18 for both men and women now. The age was 16 until March 31, 2022, for women that were raised to 18 effective April 1, 2022. Deciding marriageable age is very important for every country. In Japan it was originally 18 years old for men and for women it was 15. The reason they decided to raise the marriageable age for women to 18 in 2022 was principally to eliminate differences between men and women. For this reason, the United Nations has requested Japan that the differences between men and women be eliminated.

The age of consent to be raised

The Legislative Council of the Japanese Ministry of Justice met on October 24 for presenting a tentative plan of changing the age of consent. They want to revise the Penal Code for sex crimes and raise the legal consent age from 13 to 16 with certain conditions. They want to exclude acts between young people who are about the same age. For this reason, the legal age of consent set by the penal code is expected to be 16 in the future. There are multiple laws for imposing penalties and engaging in lewd acts with minors. According to the Child Welfare Law, youth under the age of 18 is considered a child and provided with criminal penalties for “causing” a child to engage in lewd acts.

Lewd acts with youths under 18 years of age would severely be punished under the Child Welfare Law, the Youth Protection and Nurturing Ordinance, and the so-called Child Prostitution Prohibition Law. On the other hand, the Lasciviousness Ordinance provides severe criminal penalties for lewd acts against a person under 18 years of age if they are performed to satisfy one’s desire. If you engage in indecent acts with a juvenile under the age of 18, you may be in violation of various laws. The penalties for violating related multiple laws could be very different by prefecture.


The legal age of consent, which is 13 years old, has never been changed since the year 1907 when the average life expectancy of women was only 44 years and in those days it was rather common for women to marry and have children at a remarkably young age. If one thinks of the age majority of women in Japan got married in the old days, 13 being for the age of consent might have been fair. As a matter of fact the legal marriageable age was only 15 about a hundred years ago. It is natural that they set the age of consent at 13 considering when many women got married.

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