Japan Bans CP But Makes Exceptions for Manga, Anime

Rhett Pardon

TOKYO — Japan has banned the possession of child pornography, but with some exceptions: Manga, anime and computer graphics have been excluded from the new law.

Japan's upper house of Parliament passed a bill Wednesday that makes it the equivalent to a felony, with prison sentences up to a year and $10,000 penalties, for those found with explicit images of children.

The law, an expansion of an existing 15-year-old law, also allows those who already possess child pornography a grace period of a year to get rid of material and requires ISPs to cooperate with law enforcement authorities on the issue.

The exclusion of Manga, anime and computer graphics was made after publishers and lawyers groups contended that a ban on such images would violate the constitutional right of free speech.

Tim Henning of the ASACP told XBIZ today that the passage of the law is a major victory for global child protection efforts.

"ASACP is very gratified that this bill has now become law in Japan," Henning said. "This is something that has been long overdue. By finally criminalizing the possession of sexually explicit images involving real children Japan joins the rest of the Group of Seven industrialized nations in outlawing child pornography.

"Japan now joins more than 70 countries in criminalizing this heinous material. Although this is very encouraging and a very big step forward for global child protection efforts, there is much work to be done in order to realize an eventual worldwide ban.

"Criminalizing images that do not depict real children, virtual child pornography — which includes Manga, anime and computer graphics — is a much more debated topic globally. While some countries have outlawed such material others have not.

"Since no actual children have been harmed or exploited in the creation of the image or video some believe it is a victimless crime and falls under the protections of freedom of speech and expression as is currently the case in the U.S."