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Tokyo to penalise those who encourage youngsters to send selfies online in child pornography crackdown

The National Police Agency said in March that the number of cases of child abuse and pornography in Japan had reached record highs in 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 May, 2017, 11:29pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 May, 2017, 11:29pm

A council of the Tokyo metropolitan government urged Governor Yuriko Koike on Tuesday to ban the act of encouraging children to send selfies over the internet – an idea aimed at protecting youngsters from falling prey to child pornography.

The metropolitan government will begin the process of amending a relevant ordinance after consulting with the central government about the details of the envisioned penalties. It would be the first ordinance in the country that bans selfie solicitations, according to the local government.

“Once an image gets circulated on the internet, it will be unrecoverable. I want to tackle the ordinance amendment without delay,” Koike said upon receiving the report from the metropolitan government.

In the report, the council called for amending the Ordinance for the Sound Development of Youth so that encouraging children to send selfies even after they refused, or the act of intimidating them to do so, would be banned and penalised.

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The report noted that the number of children becoming victims of nude selfies was increasing every year, with these cases now accounting for some 40 per cent of the child pornography cases across the country.

The current child pornography law does not sufficiently keep children from sending images of themselves, the report said, partly because of its lack of provisions to punish an attempted offence.

The envisioned ban and penalties would apply to those who live outside Tokyo, but who encourage children living in the city to provide their selfies, according to the report.

The National Police Agency said in March that the number of cases of child abuse and pornography in Japan had reached record highs in 2016, with the number of those tricked or coerced into sending nude photos reaching 480 – 36.6 per cent of the total victims.

Around 80 per cent of those who sent their nude images online did not know their solicitors, and over 70 per cent got to know them through social media sites, the agency report said.