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Japan: Domestic Violence Prevention Act Amended

     The amendments to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act were adopted by the plenary meeting of the House of Representatives on 5 July 2007 and became law. In March, the Committee of Specialists on Violence against Women, set up within the Council for Gender Equality of the Cabinet Office of Japan, had issued a report on the implementation of the Act, identifying challenges that should be addressed in law reform. The report had recommended that the scope of the protection order should be expanded to cover not only cases of physical violence but also those involving intimidation; that the victim's relatives and supporters should also be protected under the protection order; and that contact through fax or e-mails should also be prohibited under the order against contact.
     The amendments made it possible for victims whose life or person is threatened by intimidation to apply for the protection order; previously the right was reserved only for victims of physical violence.
     The scope of the protection order was also expanded, covering serial phone calls without speaking as well as the transmission of faxes, e-mails or obscene materials, in addition to stalking after victims or loitering in the vicinity of their domicile or workplace, which had already been covered by the Act. Not only victims and their children but also their relatives are also to be protected. Furthermore, when the protection order is issued, the court clerk is now required to notify the head of the Spousal Violence Counseling and Support Center, to which the victim had complained, of the issuance of the order and its content in a prompt manner.

Source: Proceedings of the Plenary Meeting of the House of Representatives, 5 July 2007 [Japanese]
Draft partial amendments to the Act for the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims [Japanese]
See also:
· Report Identifies Challenges in Prevention of Domestic Violence after Law Reform (Hurights Osaka News in Brief)