LDP seeking to amend Japan’s child pornography laws
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party together with co-sponsors New Komeito Party and the Japan Restoration Party are seeking to amend Japan’s current child pornography laws. The bill proposes to make possession of child pornography a crime, as opposed to the current law where it is not illegal as long as the owner is not selling, distributing or creating the images or video.
If the amendment is approved, possession of sexual images of children under 18 will be illegal, with a fine of one million yen and if the owner has the images for “the purpose of satisfying sexual curiosity,”, less than a year of jail time. The bill also has provisions to make transmitting child pornography online difficult for the perpetrators. While the draft bill has not yet been made public, some people have already talked about the concerns about the bill amendment. Taro Yamada of the center-right political party Your Party said that the draft bill does not differentiate between using real children and just images of children, as you would in anime, manga or computer-generated characters. Writers and creators of manga material that might be considered pornographic under this bill have spoken out about it as well. Izumi Mito/Raika Kobayashi, author of Yaoi-type novels (a genre that depicts romantic and sexual relationships between young men) has taken to Twitter to voice out his opinion while manga creator Ken Akamatsu went to the Diet and the LDP headquarters to express his concerns that the bill would hinder freedom of speech and censor some type of media.
The bill is being submitted to the National Diet of Japan this week. They would need a majority vote between the Lower and Upper House for the bill to become a law. While the LDP and their junior party New Komeito have supermajority in the Lower House but not the Upper House. But even if the Upper House rejects the bill, the Lower House can still pass it unilaterally after a 60-day waiting period if it is supported by a supermajority. They are aiming to pass the bill before the current session ends on June 26.