Japan Moves to Block Access to Online Child Porn

May 27, 2010 1:00 PM PST
TOKYO — Facing international pressure to crack down on child pornography, Japan has moved closer toward restricting Internet access to sexually explicit images of minors.

Instead of waiting for an official investigation or arrests, a government task force established this year agreed that websites containing child porn should be blocked immediately upon discovery.

"Child pornography online is something that is an extreme violation of children's rights," the group said in its proposal.

The plan calls for the National Police Agency and the Internet Hotline Center to work together to detect child porn online. When material is found, Internet service providers will be obligated to promptly block the sites.

While making, selling and distributing child porn are crimes in Japan, simple possession is not. Many activists and critics call this a legal loophole that has turned the country into a global hub for child porn.

“Japan must make possession of child pornography illegal in order to battle this heinous crime,” ASACP CEO Joan Irvine told XBIZ. “While we don’t think criminalizing possession will eliminate CP, it will assist law enforcement to fight CP and make strides to stop it. By making possession illegal they can make it more difficult for commercial child pornographers to profit from selling CP.”

Representatives from the Japan Committee for UNICEF office called on the government to strengthen the law to meet global standards and announced a nationwide signature-gathering campaign. The number of child pornography cases is growing and victims' ages are creeping lower, they said.

"We're making an appeal today to build a society without child pornography," said Anges Chan, a UNICEF ambassador and well-known media personality in Japan. "We're trying to build a national movement to appeal to the government to outlaw the possession of child pornography."

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