児童ポルノ 与野党で法案の一本化を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jun. 21, 2009)
Anti-child porn bills should be unified
児童ポルノ 与野党で法案の一本化を急げ(6月21日付・読売社説)

Diet deliberations on a bill to revise the law punishing acts related to child prostitution and child pornography have been delayed.

The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito last June submitted to the Diet a revised bill that would prohibit the possession of child pornography and punish violators, even if they do not sell such images. But since then, no substantive discussions on the issue have been held at the Diet. The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan also presented its own bill to revise the law during the current Diet session.

There is little to tell between both bills, which are intended to strengthen regulations protecting children from sexual abuse. The ruling and opposition parties should make efforts to quickly pass a revised bill into law, such as by unifying their respective bills.

Under the current law, the possession of child pornography for the purpose of offering it to others for profit or without charge is illegal.

When the law was enacted in 1999, prohibiting the possession of child pornography and punishing violators, even if they do not sell such images, was discussed. But eventually, such a provision was shelved on the ground that it would encroach on personal preferences and could violate privacy rights.

However, with the spread of the Internet, child pornography has been rapidly proliferating. Under the current circumstances, in which the possession of child pornography is not prohibited as long as the holder does not proliferate such images, it is difficult to charge providers of child pornography in many cases, even if police confiscate their personal computers.


International probes stymied

Among the Group of Eight countries, Japan and Russia are the only two nations that do not criminalize the possession of child pornography if the holders do not sell such images. The fact that Japan allows the possession of child pornography hampers international police investigations into child pornography.

The revised bill drafted by ruling parties would prohibit the possession of child pornography for "indecent purposes" and would penalize violators if they possessed such images for the purpose of "satisfying their sexual curiosity."

Meanwhile, the DPJ's bill would make it a crime to obtain child pornography by paying for it or to obtain it repeatedly, imposing a heavier penalty than the ruling parties' bill.

It should not be so difficult to find common ground between the two bills.


ISPs have key role to play

To strengthen controls on child pornography, cooperation by organizations in the private sector, such as Internet service providers, is indispensable.

The National Police Agency has launched a liaison council with private sector ISPs with the aim of cracking down on online child pornography by persuading the ISPs to install blocking software that prevents access to illegal Web sites. The council will discuss the technical issues involved.

An increasing number of countries, including the United States and European nations, have imposed regulations on comics, anime and other materials that contain material that could be construed as child pornography.

Recently, a Japanese-produced personal computer game featuring the rape of three women, including two girls, who are made pregnant and then forced to abort, was circulated worldwide and was condemned by the British Parliament and others.

In response to such protests, industry organizations decided to prohibit the production and sales of game software featuring sexual violence.

In the bill drafted by the ruling parties, regulations on the usage of child pornography in game software is included as a subject to be examined in the future. It is an issue that should be actively discussed in terms of protecting children from child pornography, while respecting freedom of expression.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 21, 2009)
(2009年6月21日01時43分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-06-21 10:24 | 英字新聞

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