Japan bans possession of child porn—excluding manga, anime, and video games

manga wall
Sexually explicit depictions of children in manga, anime, and video games are OK, though.

A new Japanese law bans the possession of child pornograhy—except for sexually explicit depictions of children in manga, anime, and video games.

The upper house of Japan’s parliament, the House of Councillors, voted on Wednesday to approve the law.

Possession of child pornography now comes with jail terms of up to one year and fines of up to $9,800. Interestingly, those in possession are allowed a grace period of one year to dispose of illegal pornography.

In the United States, “simulated child pornography”—any realistic depiction of minors being abused—has been illegal nationwide since 2003. In Idaho, a former teacher pled guilty to downloading Simpsons porn in 2011. He was sentenced to 15 months in jail, three years of supervised release, and sex-offender treatment.

A recent CNN report easily found shops in Tokyo selling manga with often violent sex scenes involving predominantly female minors. It’s easy to find material with characters as young as toddlers.

The Japan Cartoonists Association said a ban would damage the industry when, unlike “real” child pornography, no one was being hurt.

“Actual children suffering and crying is not acceptable. But manga doesn't involve actual children. So there are no actual victims,” lobbyist Ken Akamatsu told CNN.

Child welfare advocates argue that the cartoons have been used to convince children that sex abuse is normal.

In 2012, the number of child pornography cases in Japan rose to its highest-ever level at 1,596, the vast majority of which took place online. As a result, the U.S. State Department labeled Japan as an “international hub” for the illegal material.

H/T The Guardian | Photo via manumenal (CC BY-SA 2.0) 

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