Japan: Increase in Domestic Violence Reports
Wednesday, September 2, 2009 11:49 AM

According to the National Police Agency in Japan, there was a 20% increase in the reporting of domestic violence to the police in 2008, with 25,200 reported cases; 98% of victims reporting were women. This increase represents the fifth straight year of report increases in Japan, where family violence was criminalized only in 2001.

The 2001 law allows courts to provide restraining orders and creates a system of domestic violence prevention, including a fine of up to $10,000 and a one-year prison sentence for aggressors who violate court orders. Since 2002, the Japanese government has provided funding for family violence shelters that temporarily protect victims and provide counseling and information. There are currently 117 of these shelters throughout the country.

Despite these efforts, a reported 33.2% of married women experience some form of domestic violence, yet only 3% consult with the police or hospital staff regarding their condition. Only 1% of Japanese women seek aid from counseling or legal services.

Compiled from: Catherine Makino, “Japan - More Women Report Domestic Violence,” Women's eNews (14 August 2009).