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Japan Finally Makes It Illegal to Possess Child Pornography (with Some Exceptions) - Part 1

Japan’s relationship with child pornography has long confounded many international observers. Here in the United States, we have a strong cultural aversion to any pornography that contains images of children and very harsh and draconian laws to reflect that repulsion.

The Japanese culture is decidedly different. For instance, popular anime and manga cartoons often depict children in sexualized situations, and people in Japan (up until recently) often carried around and read such material on the subway, at the office, et cetera. In the United States, we have a very strong taboo against such materials.

However, earlier this month, Japan’s Parliament finally passed a bill to ban the possession of child pornography. Per the new legislation, anyone caught with pornographic videos or photographs of children can be sent to jail for a year and fined the equivalent of $10,000.00 in U.S. currency, which is ¥1 million. International pressure has been building in Japan for years to tighten its pornography laws – activists say the country's loose laws put children at risk. Japan did ban production of such pornography back in 1999, but it took the country 15 more years to actually ban possession.

Among the Organization for Economic and Co-operation Development countries, Japan is the last to make possession illegal. Given this, it shouldn’t come as a shock that a 2013 U.S. State Department report on human rights found that Japan acted as “an international hub for the production and trafficking of child pornography."

Kiyohiko Toyama expressed international concern in plain terms to Reuters News Service: “for too long, there was a poor understanding of children’s rights [in Japan].”

Interestingly, legislators decided to allow people to continue to possess anime and manga cartoons that depict children in sexualized scenes; publishers and lawyers in Japan agreed that any restrictions or censorship on those materials would bump up against free speech rights. In the United States, the First Amendment does protect speech and expression. But possessing sexualized material with children in it -- even in cartoon form -- is not allowed.

If you or somebody you love has been falsely accused of serious charges, such as possessing child pornography or solicitation, your legal consequences could be quite grave. Call the team here atSeltzer Mayberg, LLC at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) for a free and thorough consultation to protect your rights.

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