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Japan Finally Makes It Illegal to Possess Child Pornography (with Some Exceptions) - Part 2

In our last blog post, we talked about Japan’s new, sweeping laws that prohibit the possession of child pornography.

It may sound strange – shocking, perhaps – that a developed nation in 2014 had been allowing people to possess this kind of pornography, legally. But as we discussed in our last post, Japan’s social morales and customs are quite different. Even the country’s new, stricter laws will still allow people to possess explicit anime and manga cartoons.

In addition, Japanese nationals have substantial leeway to discard their materials. They have a full YEAR to throw them away, before they risk becoming liable for prosecution. Also, the scope and scale of potential punishment is very different from what it is here in the United States. Per the new law, an offender can be sentenced to a year behind bars and fined $10,000. In the United States, the punishments for a similar crime would likely vastly exceed that sentence, depending on the scope and scale of the crime.

Some advocates say that Japan's new laws don’t go far enough -- that explicit anime and manga material should also have been censored. An attorney for Japan's Animation Creators Association, Daisuke Okeda, told CNN that such censorship, “would not satisfy the goal for the law” -- to protect children.

But safety advocates passionately disagree.

In testimony before parliament, Sadakazu Tanigaki, a Justice Minister, reflected the new thinking in the country: “we must fight against tendency of looking at children as sexual objects, and allowing them to be taken advantage of, sexually and commercially.”

Conservative lawmakers say the bill represents a victory. Since 2000, the number of criminal cases regarding child pornography production and circulation in Japan has spiked by about 1000% to more than 1,600 cases in 2013, according to Japan’s National Police Agency.

Of course, the liminal cases present curious challenges as well.

For instance, in Japan, it’s not uncommon right now for 12 year olds and 13 year olds to pose in provocative (although not pornographic) commercials, billboard ads, et cetera. It's also not uncommon for junior high school aged pop singers to perform very explicit videos and wear revealing clothing, like lingerie, on stage.

Even safety advocates seem to be of two minds. Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, said “while there are concerns that [explicit manga and anime] might encourage the viewing of children as sexual objects, freedom of expression is also an important issue.”

In the United States, the issues are far more cut and dry. There is far less tolerance for liminal cases. If you’ve been caught up in a dragnet and falsely accused of charges of pornography possession or solicitation, the Florida cyber crime attorneys here at Seltzer Mayberg, LLC, may be able to help. Call us now at 1-888-THE DEFENSE (888-843-3333) for a confidential and free consultation.

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