New Law Criminalizes Child Pornography in Japan: Part 2

June 23, 2014 by David S. Seltzer

In our last post, we detailed the new legislation passed in Japan, making the possession of child pornography illegal. The most recent in a series of gradual changes noted by cybercrime defense attorneys, the law illustrates a gradual and welcome transformation to a culture that has been historically permissive of child exploitation.

However, no law can change the behavior of an entire nation overnight, and many stakeholders remain who continue to advocate for sexual depictions of children in various forms. In addition, many potentially exploitative practices remain legal and leave the door open for potential predators to find gratification.

The Loopholes

For instance, animated child pornography sources such as anime, manga, and computer-simulated video games are not covered under the new law. Although regulations prohibiting the sale of such materials to minors have been more heavily enforced in recent years, adults may still produce and possess them.

According to publishers, illustrations of underage children engaging in sexual acts don’t exploit real children. Artists, they claim, have a right to “freedom of expression,” and banning animated child porn would infringe on those rights. However, proponents of these items fail to account for the possible consequences of keeping them on the market.

Another remaining source of child exploitation in Japan is “borderline child pornography,” which pictures young girls in skimpy outfits and striking suggestive poses. Referred to as “junior idol,” these books and DVDs are still legal and sold at bookstores and convenience stores nationwide.

The junior idol genre is part of a larger culture that sexualizes underage girls, including celebrities such as pop group AKB48. Members as young as 13 often engage in suggestive behavior in their videos and commercial appearances, and their song lyrics contain some sexually provocative content.

Will Change Occur?

Considering the remaining cultural challenges and limitations of the new law, implementation may take a long time. For the next year, those in possession of incriminating materials will receive a “grace period” to allow time for disposal. After that, tough evidence requirements to obtain a search warrant may continue to hinder enforcement.

However, any progress in the war against child pornography is good news, and we applaud Japan’s latest step towards eradicating the exploitation of their most vulnerable individuals.

If you are facing false accusations of child pornography related offenses, a Florida cybercrime defense attorney can help you clear your name. Contact us today at (888) 843-3333.