Japan's 1st CG Child 'Pornography' Defendant Sentenced to 300,000-Yen Fine After Appeal
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
The Tokyo High Court met on Tuesday for the appeal trial of designer Akashi Takahashi (56), who was convicted last year for creating and selling realistic computer graphic (CG) images of a naked underage girl. Presiding judge Yoshifumi Asayama overturned the previous ruling and reduced Takahashi's sentence to a 300,000 yen (about US$2,600) fine.
Asayama commented, "In cases where the real image of the child has been drawn faithfully and can be recognized, CG is also child pornography." However, because the source images are old, Asayama also said that the images presumably do not infringe on any children's rights.
Takahashi was arrested in 2013 for allegedly distributing a self-published picture collection consisting of images of young girls that were scanned from photograph books published in the 1980s and early 1990s. The images were modified using editing software so that hairstyles, skin tones, and some of the poses differed from the photographs published in the original books. Takahashi was the first person to be arrested for realistic CG images under Japan's child pornography laws.
Before the Child Pornography Law of 1999, photograph books of nude young girls were widely circulated in Japan. At that time, an explicit non-censored photograph could be published only if the person in the photo did not have pubic hair. Although original books did not depict sexual activity, they may be classified as "type 3 child pornography," images in which "the minor is fully or partially undressed, and the visual representation is sexually arousing," under the 1999 law. Takahashi's picture collection was produced in 2009.
Last year, the court ruled that three of the 34 images listed by the prosecution were realistic enough to identify the girl they were based on, and therefore against the law. The court fined Takahashi 300,000 yen and sentenced him to one year in prison, suspended for three years. Takahashi stated that it was not his intention to create child pornography, and he appealed the ruling.
Under Japan's current child pornography laws, images that use real models under the age of 18, including drawings, can be classified as child pornography. In 2014, Japan passed a law outlawing posession of child pornography, but the bill does not criminalize depictions in manga and anime.