Are you living in a domestically violent or abusive home? Are you being beaten? Are you living in fear from your partner? Do you always feel guilty and helpless? If your answer is yes to any of these questions there are people and organizations that can help.
The Law on “Prevention of Spouse Violence and Protection of Victims” makes no distinction between legally married couples and those who are living together in a de facto state of marriage. It is Japan’s first domestic violence law, and while until recently violence in the home was considered a private affair, it is with the new law in effect, a crime. The law now enables district courts to issue six month restraining orders against abusers and also is able to evict abusers from the home for as long as two-weeks. Abusers who violate the law may face a fine of up to 1 million Yen or a year in jail. People who make a false report regarding domestic violence can also be fined up to 100,000 Yen.
Spousal Violence Support Centers
As of April 1, 2002, all prefectural and local governments became responsible for measures to prevent spousal violence, and were required to set-up a “Spousal Violence and Support Center”. These centers provide counselling, medical, psychological, or other required guidance and assistance for victims to become self-reliant. It will also provide temporary protection in either shelters or other government supported facilities for victims and family members, such as children, and offer information and other forms of assistance to help find a place where victims can live in safety and receive long-term protection.
How to get a restraining order
After notifying the appropriate authorities (i.e. the police, medical facilities, city welfare office or Spousal Violence Center (SV Center)) of the violence, the SV Center with the victim’s cooperation, will submit the appropriate paperwork to the district court. The district court will then issue either a restraining order, in which your spouse/partner is not allowed to approach you for as long as six months, or an eviction notice evicting your spouse/partner for up to two weeks. If you choose not to seek legal action, but wish to temporarily escape from your spouse/partner, there are both governmental and non-governmental support groups to give you counselling and help you find temporary protection for both you, and if necessary, your children.
Increasing your safety:
If you are residing with an abusive partner and are unsure of what to do it may be wise to have a plan and to take various precautions. The following are advised:
- Have important phone numbers such as the local police, hotlines, friends and shelters accessible at all times. If you have children that are old enough you should also advise them of places to contact if you are ever in danger.
- If there is anyone nearby who you can trust and tell about the violence; ask them to contact the police if they hear suspicious noises.
- Have at least three places in mind that you can go if you leave your home.
- Leave extra clothes, keys, money and copies of important documents with someone you can trust and go to in times of trouble.
- Have a list of things you may need if you leave, for example; identification, passport, children’s birth certificates, school and medical records, money, bankbooks and credit cards, house/ car keys, driver’s license, address book, medication etc.
During a violent incident:
- If a violent incident arises try to move to a room or an area that has access to an exit.
- Consider ways to get out of your home safely, what doors, windows, elevator or stairs can you use?
- Be prepared to leave quickly, if possible have a bag packed with essentials placed in an accessible place.
- Use a code word with children, family and friends or neighbors so that they can call for help on your behalf.
- Always have a plan in your mind of where you will go if you have to leave in a hurry.
Assistance for Women
All inquires and services are confidential
Free Personal Counseling for Foreigners at the Nagoya International Center.
(052) 581-0100 Support for foreign residents who struggle with difficulties in their life in Japan. Counselors provide counseling in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. The counseling service is free, however reservations are necessary. Call the NIC 3F Information Services Corner for more information or to make an appointment.
Aichi Prefectural Counseling Center for Women (Spousal Violence Center)
- (052) 913-3300
- Hours: Mon. to Fri, from 9:00 to 17:00, and until 21:00 for telephone inquiries.
- Address: Ono-cho 2-4 , Kita-ku, Nagoya
Aichi Women’s Center (Will Aichi)
- (052) 962-2568
- Hours & Services: Professional legal advice via phone in Japanese regarding domestic violence every Saturday from 14:00 to 15:30.
- Address: Kamitatesugino-cho 1, Higashi-ku, Nagoya 461-0016
Mikokoro Center – Tomo-no-Kai
- (052) 953-9480
- Hours: Mon. to Sat., 10:00 to 16:30; Japanese, English, Tagalog, Spanish and Portuguese) or 090-1892-1995 anytime (Japanese and English only).
- Address: Marunouchi 3-6-43, Naka-ku, Nagoya 460-0002
Filipina Circle for Advancement and Progress (FICAP)
- (052) 242-1277
- Hours: Wed., Fri., Sat. & Sun. from 15:00 to 17:00 for the above telephone or 090-8955-8718 (cell phone anytime is OK); Japanese, English & Tagalog
- Address: Maruzen Building 4-D, Sakae 4-20-11, Naka-ku .
National Women’s Education Center Japan
Nagoya City Spousal Violence Support Center
To learn more about the Nagoya International Center,
please watch our video.