Reported sexual abuse of children surges in Japan: survey

Source: Agence France-Presse

TOKYO, May 12 (AFP) - Reported sexual assaults of children have surged 70 percent over the past decade in Japan, according to a newspaper poll published Thursday.

Police received 2,607 reports of rape or other sexual assaults on children aged 15 or younger in 2004, the Mainichi Shimbun said. It compared with 1,503 cases in a similar compilation done by police for 1994.

Japan has gradually been stepping up enforcement of laws to protect children from sexual exploitation after a string of bad publicity in a country where the age of consent is 13.