BEIRUT

World

Japan bans child porn, but excludes manga, anime

File - In this May 27, 2008, a visitor to the Tokyo International Anime Fair looks at cartoon figures on display in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)

TOKYO: Japan’s parliament has passed a law which bans possession of child pornography, but excludes sexually explicit depictions of children in comics, animation and computer graphics.

The upper house voted Wednesday to approve the legislation, which amends an earlier law that banned production and distribution of child pornography but not ownership of such materials.

Japan is the last major industrial country to criminalize possession of child pornography, and had faced calls to crack down on the loophole.

The law provides for prison terms of up to one year and fines of up to 1 million yen ($9,800) for having pornographic photographs or videos of children. It allows a grace period of one year for people owning such materials to dispose of them.

Pictures of children as young as toddlers posed in sexually suggestive ways are easily found online in Japan.

Child advocates and other critics of the new legislation say it is a long-overdue improvement but are unhappy with the exclusion of depictions of sexual fantasies involving children in “manga” comic books, anime and video games.

Those so-called “creative industries” are a pillar of the government’s “Cool Japan” effort to expand culture-related exports and are worth hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenues.

The exclusion was made after publishers and lawyers’ associations contended that a ban on such images would violate the constitutional right of free speech.

According to humantrafficking.org, Japan is a hub for the production and distribution of child pornography, part of a massive sex industry that includes prostitutes dressed in school uniforms and other outfits meant to cater to pedophiles.

The new law, which was approved by the lower house of parliament earlier this month, requires Internet providers and other such companies to cooperate with police in preventing and investigating distribution of child pornography, which it defines as photos and videos that expose or focus on children’s sexual parts.

Police say widespread use of smartphones has aided the distribution of pornographic images of children. They reported 1,644 cases of child pornography in 2013.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 19, 2014, on page 11.

Recommended

Entities

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

Japan's parliament has passed a law which bans possession of child pornography, but excludes sexually explicit depictions of children in comics, animation and computer graphics.

The upper house voted Wednesday to approve the legislation, which amends an earlier law that banned production and distribution of child pornography but not ownership of such materials.

The new law, which was approved by the lower house of parliament earlier this month, requires Internet providers and other such companies to cooperate with police in preventing and investigating distribution of child pornography, which it defines as photos and videos that expose or focus on children's sexual parts.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here