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NCJ Number: 194482 Find in a Library
Title: Definitional Process of Domestic Violence in Japan
Journal: Violence Against Women  Volume:8  Issue:3  Dated:March 2002  Pages:339-366
Author(s): Mieko Yoshihama
Date Published: March 2002
Page Count: 28
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the process by which domestic violence came to be recognized as a social problem in Japan.
Abstract: In Japan, domestic violence was neither recognized nor addressed prior to 1992, and only recently has it been acknowledged as a serious social problem. This is largely attributable to the efforts of grassroots women’s organizations that paralleled the rise of international movements against gender-based violence during the early 1990's. Action-oriented research projects on domestic violence conducted by these organizations played an important role in shaping public discourse on the issue in Japan. In early 1992, the Domestic Violence Action and Research Group (DVARG), a nongovernmental organization in Japan, conducted a study on the prevalence of domestic violence and received wide media coverage. Because the Japanese Government was still claiming that domestic violence was not a serious social problem in Japan, advocacy efforts were taken to the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Austria in 1993. One of the outcomes of this was that the study results were widely circulated throughout the world. Research projects and other consciousness-raising activities have since steadily increased. A private battered women’s shelter opened its doors in Tokyo in 1993. The number of private women’s shelters soon increased, and there are now more than 20 shelters across the Nation. The National Coalition of Shelters was established in 1998. The first to respond to increasing demands to address domestic violence were the local governments. The first sign of change in the national government did not appear until 1996. DVARG’s advocacy efforts at the United Nations conferences appear to have provided the extra edge needed to legitimize the issue of domestic violence as a social problem warranting governmental intervention in Japan. Efforts must continue to shape social policy and services aimed at addressing the root causes of domestic violence and at restructuring gender inequality.
Main Term(s): Domestic assault; Japan
Index Term(s): Abused women; Battered wives; Foreign crime statistics; Foreign criminal justice research; Foreign laws; Spouse abuse statutes
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