Domestic violence against women is illegal under the Law for the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims,which makes physical and psychological abuse unlawful, including in current and ex de facto relationship. The Act was amended in 2007 to expand the scope of protection orders, and prohibit behaviours such as phone calls.In addition, the Government provides publicly funded protection shelters for short-term stays. However, the Act has been criticized for failing to cover same-sex or non-co-habiting couples. Other weaknesses include that charges will only be laid if the victim volunteers to press charges; and that criminal punishment will only occur if the victim suffers a physical assault. If the victim has not suffered any injury as a result of the assault, the perpetrator shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not more than two years, a fine, imprisonment without work or a petty fine.
Implementation of the law on domestic violence remains weak.For example, violators of protection orders are not always arrested or prosecuted, except for serious cases. Additionally, court judgments that require compensation to be paid to victims or child support for mothers are not strictly enforced. There is no official prevalence data on domestic violence in Japan, although 2005 data from WHO indicates that 4% of Japanese women had experienced partner violence in the last year: one of the lowest rates in the region. Public attitudes may be responsible for these relatively low rates: since the same study revealed that, while almost 10% of women surveyed agreed that wife-beating was justified in the case of unfaithfulness, 80% accepted none of the six suggested reasons why such violence might be acceptable.
However, domestic violence prevalence increases for marginalised women and girls. NGOs report that women of ethnic minorities and migrant women without stable resident status are made further vulnerable to violence, as gender-based discrimination is closely tied to discrimination based on race and nationality.
While the revised Spousal Violence Act, stipulates that state agencies and local governments should provide support for victims of domestic violence regardless of their nationality or residency status,
NGOs report that the protection of victims is not necessarily prioritized over the immigration control.
is defined in Article 177 of the Penal Code, as is the crime of gang rape (Article 178). However, the law contains a restrictive definition of ‘rape’ comprising only of vaginal intercourse involving force or threats. The Penal Code also identifies separate and lesser crimes of Forcible Indecency
, Quasi Forcible Indecency,
and Quasi Rape,
which involve taking advantage of a women’s semi-conscious state or inability to resist.
Punishments for rape range from 3 to 20 years; gang rape from 4 to 20 years; and Forcible Indecency from 6 months to 10 years. There is no explicit provision criminalizing marital rape in Japan.
There is case law to include marital rape as rape (criminal offence) under the Criminal Code; a victim of violence in a same-sex couple is eligible for a protection order under the Spousal Violence Act.
Advocates have criticized the law for shifting the burden onto the victim to prove that there was no clear agreement to have sex, which, it is argued, typically leads to an expectation that the victim will show evidence of having resisted attack.
Punishment for forcible indecency ranges from six months to ten years, and rape is punished for a minimum of three years.
The punishment for gang rape is not less than four years. These sentences have been identified as inadequate, particularly as they are in fact lighter than sentences imposed for robbery. 
In order to encourage and assist sexual violence survivors to report crimes, the police agency in each prefecture offers a hotline service. There is also a public women’s consultation office to provide victims with counselling.
However, there are no protection shelters where rape victims can stay for a short period, nor are there any 24-hour rape crisis centres to provide counselling and immediate medical treatment.
There is evidence that sexual violence continues to go under-reported, a fact which has been linked by NGOs to a lack of trust in the justice system; prejudices held by police, prosecutors and judges; and re-victimizing judicial processes, such as the consideration of the victim’s past sexual history as part of the investigation and trial process.
Nevertheless, violence against women, including sexual violence, remains a significant problem in Japan. There is very little official prevalence data collected by the Government on any form of gender-based violence.
However, a recent WHO survey indicates that, 15% of ever-partnered women reported experiencing physical or sexual violence, or both, at some time in their lives.
NGOs report that sexual violence against women in detention is also a problem in Japan.
Additionally, the incidence of violence against women and girls around US military bases is also reported to be significantly high, although access to justice for these victims is limited. One NGO estimated that only 26% of all sexual crimes committed by off-duty US soldiers are ever prosecuted.
The Japanese Government is also yet to provide justice or reparations for the “comfort women”, used as military sexual slaves during the Second World War.
remains a problem in Japanese workplaces, despite being outlawed by the Law on Securing, Etc. of Equal Opportunity and Treatment between Men and Women in Employment enacted in 1985. Although a 2006 revision made it the responsibility of employers to take necessary measures to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, the penalty for employers who fail to take adequate measures remain very weak, and are limited to publicizing the names of offending companies.
) Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEOL) was enacted in 1985, however it introduced a provision on anti-sexual harassment in 1999. EEOL provides administrative sanctions, and apart from EEOL, sexual harassment is subject to monetary compensation and criminal offense under other civil and criminal legislations.
There is no evidence that female genital mutilation is practised in Japan.
Japan has been identified as a destination country for women subjected to forced prostitution
and forced labor, including forced marriage.
In order to combat the practice, Japan has comprehensively criminalized all trafficking
-related activity, although the definition of trafficking is limited. These efforts do not fully comply with the minimum international standards for action according to the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report.
The government especially failed to develop trafficking-specific victim assistance measures, continuing instead to rely on inadequate prefectural-level domestic violence shelters. 
NGOs have also linked the restrictive migration policies, to the vulnerability of migrant women to trafficking, sexual exploitation and domestic violence.
Regarding women’s reproductive autonomy, abortion
is criminalized in Japan under the Penal Code
; except in cases where a medical practitioner deems that the pregnancy could cause damage health for physiological or economic reasons, or in the case of pregnancy caused by violence or intimidation.
The Maternal Protection Law requires a woman who seeks an abortion to obtain the authorization of her male partner.
United Nations figures from 2005 indicate that 44.4% of women used some form of modern contraceptive
NGOs report that emergency contraceptives are rarely used.
 The Law for the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims [Law No. 31 of 2001]  http://www.gender.go.jp/english_contents/mge/violence/act.html.  Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (2009), p.13.  Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (2009), p.13  Penal Code [Act No. 45 of 1907], Art. 204  Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (2009), p.13  WHO (2005)  WHO (2005) Figure 5  World Organization against Torture (2008)  World Organization against Torture (2008), p.38  Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (2009), p.13  Penal Code [Act No. 45 of 1907], Art. 176  Penal Code [Act No. 45 of 1907], Art.178-1(1)  Penal Code [Act No. 45 of 1907], Art.178-1(2)  World Organization against Torture (2008), p.16 CEDAW (2009), p.7  World Organization against Torture (2008), p.14  Penal Code [Act No. 45 of 1907], Arts. 176, 177 World Organization against Torture (2008), p.14  CEDAW (2008), p.21  World Organization against Torture (2008), pp.35-36  Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (2009), p.9  CEDAW (2009), p.8  WHO (2005)  World Organization against Torture (2008), p.22, 24  Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (2009), p.10 CEDAW (2009), p.8  World Organization against Torture (2008), p.18  US State Department (2013b) US State Department (2013b)  US State Department (2013b)  World Organization against Torture (2008), p.11  Penal Code [Act No. 45 of 1907], Art. 212  The Maternal Protection Law, Art.14  Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (2009), p.21  UN (2012b)  Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (2009), p.21