2016 (A). No. 1731

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The defendant committed acts of obscenity upon a young girl. He alleged that it was only for a monetary purpose—to record the act and give the record to his acquaintance in return for receiving a loan —and that he had no sexual intent. The defendant appealed the High Court’s ruling that sexual intent is not required to establish a prima facie case of indecent assault, which is proscribed by Article 176 of the Japanese Penal Code. He argued that the High Court’s finding was inconsistent with a judicial precedent holding that sexual intent is an element for the crime. The Supreme Court, upon noting that the scope of sexual crimes cannot be properly determined without taking into account the views of contemporary society, found that, in the present day, the focus should be on the existence, details, and extent of sexual damage caused to a victim rather than an assailant’s intent. Thus, the Supreme Court, sustained the High Court’s finding and overturned the 47-year-old jurisprudence. The Court found that, while it could not deny that there may be a situation in which the sexual intent of a perpetrator becomes an important factor in finding the crime, it was not reasonable to uniformly require the existence of such a factor for the crime of indecent assault.



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