Japan Passes Bill Outlawing Child Pornography Possession

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Japan passed a bill criminalizing possession of child pornography on Wednesday. Individuals found in possession of pornography depicting real children will face jail time up to one year or fines up to one million yen (about US$10,000).

The law would go in effect next month. However, there will be a one-year grace period to give potential violators a chance to throw away any child pornography they currently own. Japan was the only member of the Group of Seven industrialized nations that did not criminalize possession of child pornography.

The bill replaces the previously proposed child pornography bill that included instructions to investigate pornography in manga and anime. The bill passed on Wednesday does not criminalize depictions in manga and anime, nor does it apply to most "junior idol" images.

CNN correspondent Will Ripley interviewed manga creator Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima!) and Liberal Democratic Party legislator Masatada Tsuchiya about the choice not to ban explicit anime and manga.

Tsuchiya stated, "I believed we should go a step further and take a look at manga and anime in which children are sexually abused." He cited a case in which a child murder suspect Takuya Katsumata was found to own dozens of explicit manga depicting children.

"Of course freedom of expression is important. And I love manga. But some of the things out there are so depraved they aren't worth defending," Tsuchiya said.

Japan's national data shows a rise in child pornography crimes with police reporting 1,644 cases last year, 10 times more than a decade ago.

Sources: CNN, The Japan Times

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