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Japan to reform child porn law

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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:51 am
Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
Controversy raging over revisions to child pornography law

While everyone agrees that the human rights of children must be protected, the arguments center on whether cartoons and anime should be subject to regulations. Some argue that manga do not create victims and thus freedom of expression is at stake.

The revised law was jointly submitted to the Diet in May by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its junior coalition partner New Komeito and the opposition Japan Restoration Party, and debate has been carried over to the next Diet session.

The revisions prohibit the possession of child pornography as well as the production and sales of such images. The revisions also suggest that certain scenes or acts in fictitious manga and anime may be banned in the future if they are determined to be harmful to society.

LDP lawmaker Katsuei Hirasawa said individuals possessing child pornography should be prosecuted and that Japan is lagging behind the rest of the world on the issue.

"Among the Group of Eight countries, only Japan and Russia have yet to ban the possession (of child pornography)," Hirasawa said. "Japan is regarded by the international community not only as a heaven of child pornography, but also as a country that is not doing anything to stop it."

In 2012, police handled a total of 1,596 child pornography cases, the largest on record.

"The current climate of punishing only those who produce or sell (child pornography) does not go far enough," said Hiroshi Nakada, a Japan Restoration Party lawmaker who was one of the Diet members that jointly submitted the revised law.

The revised law also says that manga and anime could be subject to review and certain fictitious scenes and images could be banned if they are determined to be child pornography.

"In the (popular manga and anime series) 'Doraemon,' there are scenes depicting (elementary schoolgirl) Shizuka taking a bath. Will those scenes be also prohibited?" asked a person on an Internet message board.

The LDP's Hirasawa said such scenes would not be banned and that the person posing the question did not understand the seriousness of the situation.

"There are many serious images that go far beyond what you could call art or culture," Hirasawa said. "There are cases in which some people commit crimes under the influence of photos (of child pornography). We cannot say that they will not do the same if they view such images in the form of drawings in comics."

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations and major organizations in the publishing, and anime and manga industries have expressed opposition to the proposed revisions. Those organizations include the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, Japan Book Publishers Association, Japan Cartoonists Association and Japan Writers’ Association.

The JFBA supports the prohibition of possession of child pornography images, but it is against the idea of punishing individuals, saying that allowing punishment could lead to abuses of power by investigative authorities.

The JFBA also said that a ban of scenes and images in fictitious anime and manga could constitute a serious infringement on the freedom of expression.

"The purpose of the child pornography prohibition law is to protect the human rights of children that actually exist," the JFBA said.

At a recent hearing held by the LDP, Ken Akamatsu, representing the Japan Cartoonists Association, said that in manga and anime, no actual children are victims of child pornography.

"There is also no scientific evidence to prove that so-called 'harmful media' increases crime," he said.

Shinichiro Inoue, president of Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., argued that comics with sexual depictions are already a marginal subculture.

"We fear that regulating such comics will only serve as an entrance for imposing draconian regulations. The government could (later) spread those regulations to the Internet, literary works, newspapers and magazines," Inoue said. "Given the tragedy of prewar Japan that silenced the people, we must continue to speak out, 'What is wrong is wrong.' "


So how do censors determine the age of a cartoon character?
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:07 am
It's a tricky one but obviously a big problem that must be dealt with. Distributing child porn was only made illegal in 2003 in Japan and that was after significant pressure from the International community. If possessing actual child porn is made illegal (I can't believe it's not already, what the hell!!) then the perverts in Japan will naturally turn to anime for the sexual gratification. It is quite a disturbing situation.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:30 am
I reserve my right to delete my history......

Distributing child porn should be illegal in all seriousness, however i don't think cartoon child porn is as bad although it is still bad and should be censored heavily.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:40 am
It's a weird issue for Japan because children in Japanese comics are often drawn naked, they are not supposed to be sexualized by this, the idea seems to be that the authors think it makes them look innocent or that it's funny. For example, and I am spoilering this because some people might be offended, this is taken from an extremely popular comedy manga and anime series that comments on raising children:
Spoiler: show
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I think anyone could see how this is not child pornography, but it would probably not fly in the west.

I think that they can draw a line just fine though, between things like this, and less savory things that are often done in the Japanese media.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:48 am
Asahi Shimbun wrote:
"The purpose of the child pornography prohibition law is to protect the human rights of children that actually exist," the JFBA said.

This should be abundantly obvious. Thankfully, the government also understands this, and will not be wasting time and money trying to analyse animation.

AFAIK wrote:
So how do censors determine the age of a cartoon character?

They don't. The law will never apply to animation.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:53 am
The story suggests that it will apply to animation.

Quote:
"There are many serious images that go far beyond what you could call art or culture," Hirasawa said. "There are cases in which some people commit crimes under the influence of photos (of child pornography). We cannot say that they will not do the same if they view such images in the form of drawings in comics."

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations and major organizations in the publishing, and anime and manga industries have expressed opposition to the proposed revisions. Those organizations include the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, Japan Book Publishers Association, Japan Cartoonists Association and Japan Writers’ Association.

The JFBA supports the prohibition of possession of child pornography images, but it is against the idea of punishing individuals, saying that allowing punishment could lead to abuses of power by investigative authorities.

The JFBA also said that a ban of scenes and images in fictitious anime and manga could constitute a serious infringement on the freedom of expression.

"The purpose of the child pornography prohibition law is to protect the human rights of children that actually exist," the JFBA said.

At a recent hearing held by the LDP, Ken Akamatsu, representing the Japan Cartoonists Association, said that in manga and anime, no actual children are victims of child pornography.

"There is also no scientific evidence to prove that so-called 'harmful media' increases crime," he said.

Shinichiro Inoue, president of Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., argued that comics with sexual depictions are already a marginal subculture.

"We fear that regulating such comics will only serve as an entrance for imposing draconian regulations. The government could (later) spread those regulations to the Internet, literary works, newspapers and magazines," Inoue said. "Given the tragedy of prewar Japan that silenced the people, we must continue to speak out, 'What is wrong is wrong.' "
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:55 am
The story contains this line:
Asahi Shimbun wrote:
The LDP's Hirasawa said such scenes would not be banned and that the person posing the question did not understand the seriousness of the situation.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:59 am
"Such scenes" doesn't mean that it will avoid animation entirely. Unless Hirasawa is making the argument for no reason. You might want to read the whole article.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:07 am
Wait until it passes and find out, then. I am pretty sure that if the revision passes they will never get around to actually regulating animation and drawings, precisely because they will not know where to begin, nor will they know what metric to use for classifying drawings or animation, nor will they have any way of controlling drawings, nor will they have a credible deterrent.

It's a fool's errand, and I suppose if certain liberal hand-wringers and socially conservative elements want to try their luck at it, they might as well make a bonfire out of taxpayer's money for all the effect they'll be having.

Maybe people will learn the hard way that there are in fact limits to what the government is capable of, even if it happens to be a rather all-encompassing government.

Perhaps they could go further next, and propose an ambitious bill to regulate thoughts that appear inside the minds of unsavoury individuals. Also completely unenforceable.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:14 am
From the article;
Quote:
The revised law also says that manga and anime could be subject to review and certain fictitious scenes and images could be banned if they are determined to be child pornography.
"Under capitalism, man exploits man; under communism, it is just the opposite."- John Kenneth Galbraith
"Life is always at the expense of something else"- Harmattan
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:23 am
There's no point to quoting these statements at me. If you think that they will set up a censorship board for animation and have it be anything approaching functional, then I have a bridge to sell you, and it's on the moon. But let's wait and find out. If they attempt that, then it will be a laughable failure and a tax-money bonfire, since it would show that legislators do not know their limits.

I've said what I'm going to say, so I'm not going to repeat myself over and over again for each snippet of the article.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:56 am
Rei Murasame wrote:
I've said what I'm going to say, so I'm not going to repeat myself over and over again for each snippet of the article.


I got the impression you hadn't read the article.
Why do you think censoring animation is different from censoring other media?
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:06 pm
I hope legislators in Japan know what they're doing, 'cause a similar law was revisioned to include anime in Korea last year, but performance driven police were searching for anybody uploading (or downloading via torrent) anime featuring school girls in their uniforms, porn with women (aged over 19) in school uniforms, etc. I'm not sure how many child pornographers were caught after the legislation, but a constitutional petition is currently being filed.
Japan is a weird country where girls are boys and kids are aged over a thousand years. I'm not sure if fictious characters in anime and manga will be punished equally to real children like Korea, but it will be interesting to see how they enforce it.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:17 pm
Mere nudity, is not pornography. It must indeed be sexual matter for that. A kid(anime), running around naked is not really pornographic.

Remember, pornography is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual gratification. nudity might no fall under this classification, and cartoon nudity might be exempt.

I do support child pornography laws.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:34 pm
AFAIK wrote:
I got the impression you hadn't read the article.

Get real.

AFAIK wrote:
Why do you think censoring animation is different from censoring other media?

If you can't figure that out for yourself then I have no interest in going through the minutiae of how impossible it will be to enforce such a thing, especially when the subject matter disgusts me.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:41 pm
What if their was a cartoon about futuristic white supremacists that glorified the international genocide of all non-white humans. It's only a cartoon and nobody's getting hurt but it is promoting violence and hatred toward non-whites. Well these animes may be promoting paedophilia. Surely their is a law in Japan against promoting dangerous and illegal activities. Promoting child porn is infinitely worse than promoting racism so why should one be illegal and the other not?
Child pornography is like a drug for these sicko's. Eventually they will become immune to and bored with it and will look for a stronger drug, in the case of a paedophile they may move on to target a real victim.
Whether in a song movie or cartoon if this sickness becomes part of popular culture idiots will interpret it as acceptable behaviour. We can see from crime stats that their is enough perverts out there without encouraging them any further.
I am against 99.9% of censorship but when it comes to child pornography their should be no compromise.
What I found incredible about the article is that at this very moment it is legal to possess child porn in Japan. It's completely unbelievable how the Government has allowed this for so long.
Last edited by jessupjonesjnr87 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:46 pm
Godstud wrote:
Mere nudity, is not pornography. It must indeed be sexual matter for that. A kid(anime), running around naked is not really pornographic.

Remember, pornography is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual gratification. nudity might no fall under this classification, and cartoon nudity might be exempt.

I do support child pornography laws.


Isn't nudity referred to as 'soft core' pornography? The dictionary definition will rarely match the legal definition.

I'm interested in the nuance surrounding the distinction between animation and live action.
Banning pornography featuring children makes sense but will restrictions apply to animated characters?
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:04 pm
Sensible law enforcers should be able to make the distinction. However, fictous characters should not be regulated to the same degree of real children. The first point of the law is to not have children open up for pornography. After that it should focus on not promoting it.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:26 pm
yellowscientist wrote:
Sensible law enforcers should be able to make the distinction. However, fictous characters should not be regulated to the same degree of real children. The first point of the law is to not have children open up for pornography. After that it should focus on not promoting it.

Why not?

I hate being a "stick in the mud" on this one...but I have kids.
And I certainly wouldn't want them watching kiddie-porn...animated or not...on their PCs.
I've seen some of that anime...it's more graphic than the real thing.

This one is not gonna be an easy nut to crack.
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Post Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:33 pm
Buzz62 wrote:
This one is not gonna be an easy nut to crack.
jessupjonesjnr87 wrote:
It's a tricky one but obviously a big problem that must be dealt with.

I'd love to hear you two come up with some suggestions.
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