It took way too long, but at least it's happened.
Japan has finally made possession of child pornography a punishable offense, but they've also infuriated a lot of people with the exclusions they've left out of the bill.
While many have applauded Japan’s Parliament for voting to outlaw possession of child pornography — something noticeably absent from the country's 1999 law that banned production and distribution, but not possession - others are wondering why the new law still allows anime or manga comics to feature graphic and sometimes violent sexual acts involving children.
Hopefully this new law - which will give those who possess child pornography a year's grace period to get rid of the horrible materials - will help curb the production and distribution of child pornography. Last year alone there were 1,644 criminal cases involves those kind of crimes.
Here was what one spokesperson for a non-profit group that helps exploited children said:
"It's been 10 years and it's finally changed. I'm so pleased that Japan finally moved one step toward the international standard. Under the existing circumstances, the suffering and damage has become more critical. I really hope that the law rescues suffering child victims, as well as the victims damaged in the past by stopping the circulation of child porn. This is the epoch-making event for Japan."
In terms of the outrage against the loophole that allows anime to continue to sometimes show child sexual abuse, the main Animation Creators Association lawyer said:
"[It is] natural that animation is exempted…The goal of the law itself is to protect children from crime. Banning such expression in animation under this law would not satisfy the goal of the law. [Although some animation leaves my colleagues and I] disgusted. But rich, deep culture is born from something that might not be accepted by all. We need to allow the gray zone to exist as a necessary evil."
The new law mainly goes after those who own possession of sexually explicit photographs and videos that feature children. Those with possession will face prison up to one year, and also would face fines up to $10,000.
And although the anime industry still has some highly questionable material — at least this is definitely a step in the right direction.
And hopefully Japan will continue to keep making these correct steps.
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