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Japan’s priority measures against child pornography

Last updated on September 21, 2009


It seems that Japan is doing more to battle child porn. I wonder if it will be enough to deter the crime? Here are my previous posts on the topic. The Nikkei Shimbun translation is below:

“The National Police Agency (NPA) has mapped out a priority program to be tackled to root out child pornography, which is flooding the Internet, and has notified prefectural police departments of the program,  which calls for a team of specialists on image analysis to be set up in the NPA. A support system for victimized children, such as a counseling system, will also be improved. The NPA will promote measures to clean the tarnished image of Japan being a backward country in terms of measures to prevent child pornography.

Child pornography is defined as any visual depiction or animated films of children under the age 18 pursuing sexual intercourses or sexual abuse or being naked. The NPA’s priority program consists of three pillars – measures to crack down on child porn and prevent the distribution of such, and assistance to victimized children.

The program includes improving the existing image analysis method and looking into new methods as a means to crack down on child porn cases. The envisaged image processing team will be set up in the NPA on June 18. The NPA hope that the establishment of such a team will lead to identifying or cracking down on suspects. It will also look into new investigation methods. As part of such efforts, it will send staffers to foreign investigative organs for training.

In order to prevent the distribution of child porn, the team will cooperate with the organization of providers that looks into a method called “blocking,” which blocks access to child porn sites. The organization plans to set up a body that maps out a list of addresses of child porn sites. The program notes that information will be provided to that body. In assisting victimized children, the NPA will speed up efforts to establish a system under which the image analyzing team identifies such children from the clothes they were wearing. The program also notes that the NPA will look into measures to enhance measures to assist victims, including adopting a method of questioning that gives more consideration to them, and continuous counseling.

Part 2 – Child porn: No prospect for amending law: Japan falling behind effort to eradicate the crime

The National Police Agency (NPA) has adopted a priority program, following a surging international move to eradicate child pornography, which is being distributed on the Internet and easily crossing national boundaries. Japan’s law regulating child porn has been pointed out as insufficient by other countries. However, Diet deliberations on it remain stalled. Moves of other government agencies in charge of enlightening people about the illegality of child porn and taking care of victimized children are also slow. It is imperative for the government and society to tackle the issue.

Japan once came under fire in the international community because of the many packaged overseas sex tours and for distributing child porn. In 1999, the Diet enacted the Child Protection Law against Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. The law, however, does not regulate simple possession of child porn and animated film of such. Japan and Russia are the only countries among the G-8 member nations that do not regulate simple possession of child pornography. This has been criticized because it could become a loop hole in international cooperative efforts to crack down on child pornography.

Following such moves, the ruling parties and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) respectively submitted a bill amending the law. While the ruling party-sponsored bill bans simple possession of child porn, the bill submitted by the DPJ bans obtaining such repeatedly or by paying for it. Since specific process, such as talks to make modifications to those bills has yet to be set, there is no outlook for amending the law.

The government in the action program to create a crime-resistant society, adopted in late 2008, declared that it will stage a national movement aimed to root out child porn. The NPA has also noted that it will look into cooperation with related government agencies. However, specific measures have yet to be looked into. A path to a national movement is not yet in sight.”

Source: NIKKEI Shimbun (Page 20) (Abridged slightly), Evening edition, June 18, 2009

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