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U.N. Rapporteur Suggests Japanese Ban on Manga With 'Extreme Child Porn'

posted on by Karen Ressler
Japan has "social and institutional tolerance" for related offenses, lawyer says

Dutch lawyer Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, serving as a U.N. rapporteur on child prostitution and pornography, suggested in a news conference at Japan National Press Club on Monday that Japan should ban manga with "extreme child pornographic content."

She noted that it is important to find "the right balance" between artistic freedom and the protection of children. "I accept that the freedom of expression argument should outweigh, should prevail when it comes to adult pornography," she said.

De Boer-Buquicchio recently completed an eight-day study of the sexual abuse situation in Japan. For her investigation she interviewed government and law-enforcement representatives, non-governmental organizations, and victims.

Japan passed a bill last summer outlawing the possession of child pornography, though the bill does not criminalize depictions in manga and anime. It is also still legal to offer photos depicting half-naked children or children in skimpy outfits, and DVDs and photos with child erotica are available online and in some stores.

"All these are obviously lucrative businesses," De Boer-Buquicchio said. "What is worrying is that there is a trend which seems to be socially accepted and tolerated." She found the hesitation to take action in Japanese law enforcement officers to be "exceptional," and noted that sex offenders in Japan enjoy a "relatively high" impunity compared with other developed nations.

These factors, she asserts, contribute to Japan's "social and institutional tolerance" for offenses related to sexual exploitation of children. De Boer-Buquicchio suggested the ban on manga with extreme content as a step to combat the problem. She also proposed instituting penalties for viewing child pornography.

Sources: The Japan Times, The Straits Times

Thanks to Ian Wolf for the news tip.


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