AFP: Japan must crack down on child porn: activists

AFP: Japan must crack down on child porn: activists

(AFP) – 14.05.2010

TOKYO — Japan’s government must crack down on rampant child pornography, which proliferates on the Internet causing great mental anguish for its victims, an activist group demanded Friday.

Japan is considered a major global source of child porn — in part because, while production and distribution of child pornography are illegal, its possession is not.

Keiji Goto, head of the lawyers’ Forum Against Child Pornography, said he did not understand why the centre-left government in power since last year has not cracked down on images depicting the sexual exploitation of minors.

On many child porn websites, he said, ‘most of the victimised children have their faces exposed in images that are posted and distributed on the Internet forever, and they suffer from mental and physical trauma forever.’

Goto spoke a day after Tokyo police arrested 20 people, and referred cases of seven others to prosecutors, for allegedly posting child porn on a website opened by a high school student for access via mobile phones.

The National Police Agency this year reported that law enforcers took action in a record 935 child porn cases last year, up 38 percent from 2008.

Goto also called for a ban on child pornography in the form of manga cartoons and computer graphics, which are now legal, saying they ‘are as realistic as the child pornography in the form of video and photography.’

‘One of the worst cases of those animation images depicts a graphic scene of the rape of an infant,’ Goto said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. ‘Tolerating this means our society tolerates child pornography.’

A National Police Agency survey showed about 25 percent of child porn images posted on the Internet had not been deleted despite requests made last December for Internet service providers to do so, Kyodo News reported Friday.

The government, which took power last September, has said it plans to draw up new measures against child pornography by June, based on guidelines mapped out by police, education, justice and other senior officials.

A group of Japanese cartoonists in March protested against a Tokyo metropolitan government plan to tighten rules against sexual images of minors in comics, animation and computer game software.

Japan’s capital had proposed to call on publishers to exercise greater restraint on sales of any cartoon works that feature sexual depictions of characters that people would assume to be under age.

The cartoonists said the measures would ‘violate freedom of expression.

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