TOKYO — Japanese privacy activists concerned about the online sharing of images without the subject’s approval are attempting to create criminal liability over the posting of SFW images “in a sexualized manner," using the upcoming Tokyo Olympics as justification.
The move is part of growing anti-sex sentiment in the Asian nation, which has gained new momentum with repeated public calls for “decency” and “showing [our] best face to the world” timed with the rescheduled 2020 Olympics, taking place this summer.
The Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed to July 23-Aug 8, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Sunday, Kosuke Koyama, the operator of nine adult websites, was arrested by Tokyo police for posting 39 SFW photos of female athletes culled from a sports TV show back in May 2019, Japan Times reported today.
Although Koyama was arrested for copyright violation because he didn’t have the broadcaster’s permission, media coverage of the arrest emphasized the pornographic nature of his website and pointed out that “the images were accompanied by sexually explicit comments.”
According to Japan Times, “widespread sharing of photos and videos taken of female athletes, often without their knowledge and in a sexualized context, has been garnering attention as a social problem, with more victims speaking up."
Japanese Olympic Committee Bemoans 'Despicable' Acts
Tokyo Police told the newspaper that this was "their first arrest based on information gathered by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) regarding athletes’ photos distributed without their consent for use in sexual ways.”
Although these images are not sexually explicit according to any contemporary standards, the JOC — which has become a central cultural institution in the run-up to this year’s Summer Games — became involved after “former national team athletes complained to the Japan Association of Athletics Federation that photos zooming in on breasts and buttocks were taken during competitions and shared on social media.”
In November, the JOC and six other sporting bodies “condemned nonconsensual capturing and sharing of sexualized images of athletes, calling it a ‘despicable act’ in a statement, and asked for the government to look into the issue.”
The aim of the campaign is to pressure the government to declare nonconsensual distribution of “sexualized” SFW images a crime, and liable to claims of damages.
Cleaning Up Japan to 'Make it Look Developed'
As XBIZ reported in March, social pressure surrounding the Olympics has resulted in distribution troubles for traditional Japanese adult magazines, which have drastically harmed the already dwindling sector.
According to a report by Hanako Montgomery of Vice's international news unit, “in the years since Japan won the bid to host the 2020 games, complaints mounted that the magazine covers were offensive to women and inappropriate in front of children.”
“Even sex stores with really dirty signs have been made to change or get rid of them in preparation for the Olympics,” an adult magazine editor told Vice. “They have to make Japan look like a developed country, and if they have these magazines out, the society looks underdeveloped.”