• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 12:39pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

Japan still lags behind in child pornography laws

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 June, 2014, 3:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 June, 2014, 9:32am

There can never be any excuse for a government to turn a blind eye to child pornography. Finally, after years of foreign pressure, Japanese legislators have decided to fall in line with other developed countries and outlaw possession of pictures and videos. But as with the annual whale hunt, carried out in defiance of an international ban, they have ignored accepted global standards. Sexually explicit manga and anime will continue to be allowed to depict young children.

Opposition lawmakers and publishers successfully argued that free speech would be eroded if manga and anime were included in the law, which provides for up to a year in jail and a US$10,000 fine. But free speech can in no circumstances be grounds for the sexual exploitation of children. There is a strong link between viewing child pornography and child sex abuse. A 2007 US government study found that 85 per cent of people convicted of child porn crimes had molested minors.

The crime has a devastating effect on victims. Apart from physical injuries, there can be a host of psychological disorders, from depression to withdrawal to anger. Lives are forever altered from the molestation and the permanent record of the images; once on the internet, they are irretrievable. Japan's failure to ban child pornography had led to children being seen by viewers of porn as sexual objects.

Unsurprisingly, crimes involving child sex abuse have been on the rise. Police found 1,644 cases last year, 10 times more than a decade ago. The lack of laws also meant that Japan, an international child porn hub, was unable to properly help overseas investigators. Making possession illegal provides better protection for children in Japan and around the world.

Japan has taken a necessary step, but it has not gone far enough. Producing and possessing sexually explicit images of children has to be banned. Their use lowers the inhibitions of potential child molesters. Japan has to be a responsible international partner. Just as whale hunting has to end, child pornography has to be outlawed.


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A Matsui
How many members of the Japanese Diet will have to go to jail for child pornography possession? Perhaps all.
I completely agree that Japan is taking far too long to enact laws that protect minors. When adults sexually exploit children, they commit actions of absolute selfishness that may hurt the child both physically and mentally, and I definitely think there needs to be more protection of children from sexual abuse. However, I do not agree that banning artificial works of CP with no actual victims involved is a correct solution.
It must be understood that pedophilia is not simply a political ideology or a curable disease. Like sexual preferences and any sexual fetish, it's hardwired into the human mind at birth, and no amount of therapy is going to eliminate it completely. At least with current technology, it is unlikely for a pedophile to suddenly not be a pedophile.
But with that said, there's a clear distinction between a pedophile and an actual child molester. While many child molesters are also pedophiles, a large number of individuals who are born with pedophilia have absolutely no intention of committing crimes or hurting minors, and their condition makes them a stigmatized group in society; enough that they can't even express their fetish for help. In fact, there's an active law in the United States that requires psychiatrists and doctors to inform authorities if they confirm that their patient is a pedophile, and there's a constant fear among pedophiles when it comes to revealing their fetish.
Coming from someone with a mild fetish of his own (not pedophilia, mind you. It's still something I have been embarrassed about for years), I can say that when people bottle up their own conditions and keep them to themselves, things will worsen more than they can actually help. And when you prevent a pedophile from getting satisfaction from even just drawings, where absolutely no victims have been involved, what choice do you provide him outside of actions of pure desperation?
It's clear that child molestation is a threat to society, but beyond putting a blanket ban on any media that promotes pedophilia or clamping down on all pedophiles, I think the best option is to educate pedophiles how to control their urges in a way that prevents them from harming children. There's plenty of evidence that pedophiles can keep themselves from hurting minors beyond chemical-based treatments, and I think governments should put more effort into making a distinction between lawful pedophiles and actual child abusers, all while encouraging pedophiles into keeping within legal boundaries. There is way too little outlets of support for people born with pedophilia, and I think providing such support can help lower cases of child sexual abuse.
As for the matter of child pornography, aside from being an issue of free speech, I think allowing artificial CP would can give pedophiles a legal way to access media involving their fetish that aren't a result of actual victims.
I'm not sure which study the author is citing, but there's been a Swiss study showing that of 291 who viewed a child pornography website, only 1% had committed an act of child abuse before the site was shut down, and only another 1% committed abuse six years after. [ http : //www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/study-finds-no-link-between-child-p o r n-and-sex-abuse/story-fn3dxity-1225749645592 ]. Other studies show that while viewing child pornography may be a red flag for actual abuse, it's not likely a cause.
I see the viewing and ownership of CP as more of an indicator of pedophilia than an actual cause for child molestation, roughly the same way that violent video games aren't direct causes of mass shootings. However, viewing live-action CP can fuel the abuses caused in its creation, so alongside an actual ban on child pornography, allowing the creation of artificial CP can at least discourage making actual children subjects of pornographic images.
Unfortunately, the stigma that comes with the fetish is going to make any of this extremely difficult to happen. Though the actual nature of pedophilia is coming increasingly into light, I doubt we'll be seeing any major changes for at least two decade.
Also, there's still yet to be enough research surrounding pedophilia and child pornography, and as more information is revealed I may or may not be proven incorrect on some things. For now, I'm sticking to the idea that allowing artificial child **** can reduce real-life sexual exploitation.
There's one online community I know of that's made up of pedophiles who are finding support, but such communities are hard to come by for obvious reasons:
h t t p ://www.virped.org/


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