Japan has banned the possession of child pornography, with some notable exceptions: manga, animation and computer graphics.
Parliament’s upper house Wednesday; the lower house passed the bill last month.
The move expands a 15-year-old law that bans the production and distribution of child pornography. The new law makes the possession of child porn punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine of nearly $10,000. It also allows those who already possess child pornography a grace period of a year to get rid of material. The law requires Internet service providers to cooperate with law enforcement authorities on the issue.
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“Child advocates and other critics of the new legislation say it is a long-overdue improvement but are unhappy with the exclusion of depictions of sexual fantasies involving children in ‘manga’ comic books, anime and video games. Pictures of children as young as toddlers posed in sexually suggestive ways are easily found online in Japan.
“The exclusion was made after publishers and lawyers’ associations contended that a ban on such images would violate the constitutional right of free speech.”
Last year, the U.S. State Department labeled Japan the “international hub” for the production and trafficking of child pornography.
Bloomberg notes that the legislation’s passage makes Russia the biggest industrialized nation without laws banning the possession of child pornography.