Child pornography possession laws meet resistance in Japan

Faced with mounting foreign and domestic pressure, Japan’s government has been forced to rethink how to handle the country’s huge market in child pornography, raising hopes for an overdue ban on possession.

While it is illegal to produce or distribute child pornography in Japan, possessing it is not – an anomaly Japan shares with only one other G8 nation, Russia. The release last month of national police agency figures showing a dramatic rise in the number of known child pornography cases coincides with new calls for the government to take action. Yet, say campaigners, national legislators lack the political will to change the law.

Investigators took action in 1,342 cases in 2010, the police agency said, a rise of 43.5 percent from the previous year. The number of reported child pornography victims, meanwhile, rose to 618, an increase of more than 52 percent from 2009 – a new record since that type of data was first compiled in 2000.

The existing law has effectively encouraged the growth of a lucrative market in sexually explicit images of children, ranging from manga comics to animated movies and, at the most dissolute end of the spectrum, films of children being subjected to rape, torture, and other crimes.

Read the rest of the story: Moves to rein in child pornography meet resistance in Japan – Yahoo! News.

In Tokyo, a Crackdown on “junior idols” and Manga

In a manga comic book that is well known here, “My Wife Is an Elementary School Student,” a 24-year-old teacher marries a 12-year-old girl as part of a top-secret social experiment.

Akari Iinuma, a 13-year-old “junior idol,” has gained a fan base with her DVDs, in which she appears in provocative costumes.

There is no depiction of actual sex. But the teacher’s steamy fantasies fill the comic’s pages in graphic detail, including a little naked girl with sexually suggestive props.

Meanwhile, in a widely available new DVD, a real-life Japanese model poses in a tiny white bikini. She makes popcorn in a maid’s costume. She plays with a beach ball while being hosed down with water.

The model, Akari Iinuma, is 13 years old.

Japan, which has long been relatively tolerant of the open sale and consumption of sexually oriented material, lately has developed a brisk trade in works that in many other countries might be considered child pornography. But now some public officials want to place tighter restrictions on the provocative depictions of young girls — referred to as “junior idols”— that are prevalent in magazines, DVDs and Web videos.

One particularly big target is manga comic books that depict pubescent girls in sexual acts. It a lucrative segment of the $5.5 billion industry for manga, illustrated books drawn in a characteristic Japanese comic-book style.

Read the rest of the story: In Tokyo, a Crackdown on Sexual Images of Minors.