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-   -   What Constitutes Child Pornography? (http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=114860)

TinyRedLeaf 2012-09-19 01:27

What Constitutes Child Pornography?
 
Since we're on the topic of adult entertainment...

Pressure grows in Japan for stronger laws against child pornography
Quote:

Tokyo (Sept 19, Wed): When police in Japan's old historic capital of Kyoto nabbed three men this summer for buying child pornography DVDs online, they made history: For the first time, someone in the country faces the possibility of jail time for possessing such material.

Japan is the only member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that has not universally outlawed possession of child pornography, and activists say the new, tougher local laws in Kyoto will not change that overnight.

With various manifestations of a fascination with the young and innocent as sex objects, from graphic versions of manga, or Japanese comics, to the "junior idol" industry featuring child models in bikinis, Japan has a considerable way to go to shed an image of pornographers' safe haven.

Out of Japan's 47 provinces, only Kyoto bans possession of child pornography and prescribes a jail sentence. Neighbouring Nara is the only other province to deem it a crime, but it has only financial penalties. It has arrested several people for possession of child pornography, but the authorities could not give a number since several were charged with other crimes.

Kyoto's new ordinance that came into force in January imposes fines for possession of child pornography and introduces a penalty of up to one year in jail for buying or downloading such material.

No national consensus
There is no national debate on the subject at the moment as major parties brace themselves for general elections expected later this year. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has reservations about extending the Kyoto law nationally, while the opposition Liberal Democratic Party is for it, lawmakers told Reuters.

The DPJ has argued that local initiatives were going too far and making owning child pornography a crime could lead to abuse of police powers and that investigators should focus on those who make and distribute the material.

The Democrats have also voiced concern that a blanket ban could be extended to comics and animation, which in turn could infringe on the freedom of expression.

But a rare endorsement for tougher laws from Japan's National Police Agency (NPA), which usually avoids positions on legislation and policy, could stir further debate.

The NPA said child pornography is spreading on the Internet at an "unprecedented pace", so those who buy and possess it should be severely punished to curb its supply.

"Child-pornography producers are making DVDs because there is demand, yet we are not able to arrest buyers," the agency said in a written response to queries from Reuters. "Furthermore, some makers are encouraged by paedophiles to make increasingly brutal products that involve rape of children, and thus such buyers should be prosecuted as heavily as possible."

Police data shows a steady rise in cases of child-pornography production and distribution. There were a record 1,455 cases last year, up 8.4 per cent from 2010. This year is likely to see another record with 1,016 cases already reported by the end of July, nearly a 10 per cent rise.

There is no comparable international data, but the latest human-rights report by the State Department in the United States describes Japan as an "international hub for production and trafficking of child pornography".

The report added that the lack of a ban on possession of child pornography in Japan "continued to hamper police efforts to enforce the law effectively and participate fully in international law enforcement".

A crime of images, or one with real victims?
Japan signed a United Nation protocol in 2005 that bans all forms of involvement in child pornography, including its possession, and a 2007 government survey showed that 90 per cent of the Japanese public favoured tougher laws.

In 2010, when the Tokyo authorities banned sales of sexually extreme manga and anime films to minors, publishers hit back at the ban as an infringement on free speech and 10 major publishers threatened to boycott an annual anime fair.

Some children's-rights advocates say the portrayal of minors as sex objects has become so commonplace that the public has grown to accept it as normal. One instance is the so-called junior idol genre that features child models in DVDs and photo books striking provocative poses.

Annual sales of this industry concentrated in Tokyo's Akihabara electronics district are estimated at 60 billion yen (US$758 million).

"Child pornography cases appear to be perceived as 'crimes of images or movie scenes', and not crimes with real-life victims," said Unicef's Japan spokesman, Mr Hiromasa Nakai. "Therefore the public opinion has yet to turn into political pressure on the national Parliament."

REUTERS

Sumeragi 2012-09-19 01:38

And so conservative Kyoto continues to be on the frontlines. It's one of, if not the, earliest prefectures to have a universal age of consent of 18 (most prefectures only limit age of consent with major-minor relations), and in general has show much tougher tendencies than the rest of Kinki (especially when compared to Osaka).

SaintessHeart 2012-09-19 04:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf (Post 4358967)
Since we're on the topic of adult entertainment...

Pressure grows in Japan for stronger laws against child pornography

Sometimes I wonder if it is the society that they live in that resulted in the presentation of young girls as objects of attraction. Given how the media flagrantly reports on the sexual escapades of high school students, the conservative mindset of the general male in the society look for innocence and subservience, therefore they turn to the young girls' demographic.

Sex always sells. It depends on how it is being portrayed to suit general tastes. Rather than adding one law after another, isn't it time to revamp the system of public education for the youth?

NoemiChan 2012-09-19 05:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf (Post 4358967)
Since we're on the topic of adult entertainment...

Pressure grows in Japan for stronger laws against child pornography

Rather than make new laws.. discuss it with all the media makers and together decide for the better... Get their opinions and have an agreement for the fairness of all..

If one person just shouts... the chances are either the other will listen or just cover their ears..

Ridwan 2012-09-19 05:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenjiChan (Post 4359171)
Rather than make new laws.. discuss it with all the media makers and together decide for the better... Get their opinions and have an agreement for the fairness of all..

If one person just shouts... the chances are either the other will listen or just cover their ears..

SaintessHeart nailed it. It's the combination of public preference and systemic status quo, of which the later being the bigger problem. And the general unimaginative tendencies typical of non-moderate conservatives everywhere

TinyRedLeaf 2012-09-19 07:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by SaintessHeart (Post 4359162)
Given how the media flagrantly reports on the sexual escapades of high school students, the conservative mindset of the general male in the society look for innocence and subservience, therefore they turn to the young girls' demographic.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Is media reflecting a preference for sexualised young girls that was already there to begin with, or did media create that preference? How and where did it begin?

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenjiChan (Post 4359171)
Rather than make new laws.. discuss it with all the media makers and together decide for the better... Get their opinions and have an agreement for the fairness of all.

What makes you think discussion had not taken place? As the article makes clear, the vast majority of Japanese (up to 90 per cent) favour tougher laws against child pornography. But nationally, the laws can't be passed because of a political deadlock. In other words, the national government is failing to heed and carry out national opinion on this matter. Is that fair?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aegir (Post 4359177)
And the general unimaginative tendencies typical of non-moderate conservatives everywhere

It's such language that stirs up unnecessary bad feelings on both sides. Would you consider Unicef (the United Nations Children's Fund) representative of "non-moderate conservatives"? According to the report, the agency is also clearly in favour of stronger laws against child pornography in Japan.



Let's address the elephant in the room: Is child pornography desirable? What qualifies as child pornography? Should we care that demand for child pornography is rising rapidly in Japan, as the police claim?

Ridwan 2012-09-19 08:20

Way to miss my point. I wasn't pointing to UNICEF with what I said. Their point is right : the Japanese conservatives are not focusing on the actual victims enough.

SeijiSensei 2012-09-19 08:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf (Post 4359281)
Let's address the elephant in the room: Is child pornography desirable? What qualifies as child pornography? Should we care that demand for child pornography is rising rapidly in Japan, as the police claim?

I'd answer that, first, it must involve real children and must exempt mere illustrations of children. Pornographic exploitation of real children should be a crime, and the distribution of such materials should also be criminalized.

Possession is a more complex matter. People who purchase such materials or obtain them by other means all contribute to the exploitation of the children depicted. However, simply throwing these people into jail for some period of time ignores the deeper psychological issues involved. I would sentence first offenders to a psychiatric institution for a period of time so they could work with competent professionals to deal with their addiction. After release, the offenders should be monitored closely to see if they have reverted back to their old ways. A second offense should lead to jail time.

Pornographic illustrations where no real-life children are involved may actually have a positive effect. They give people who suffer from this psychiatric disorder a fantasy outlet that does not harm any actual child. Criminalization alone will not eliminate the demand for child pornography any more than criminalization of drug possession eliminates the demand for drugs. If people who suffer from pedophilia can substitute drawings or even 3-D animated films to fulfill their psychic needs, that can only be considered a much better outcome than the exploitation of real children.

There is, of course, another whole issue about whether people who look at pornographic images of children are more likely to abuse real-life children themselves. I do not know what the literature is on this subject, but I would suggest there probably is not a strong correlation between looking and actual abuse.

Also as a law enforcement issue, it is much easier to crack down on the possessors than on the producers, but it is the latter group that should be primary focus of law enforcement. Even if possessors indirectly contribute to real child abuse, it's the producers themselves who are guilty of actual abuse and should be brought to justice.

One other entire category of actions that definitely need to be decriminalized is what has come to be known in the States as "sexting." Charging a fifteen-year-old boy with felony possession of child pornography because he has a picture of his girlfriend's tits on his cell phone is a horrible idea. The girl could be charged with the even worse crime of distribution. Not only will these kids have a felony record, but they will be placed on a registry of sex offenders, a fact that will plague them for the rest of their lives. In Miami, people who had served time for sex offenses once lived in a large encampment under a bridge because registered offenders in that city may not live within 2,500 feet of anywhere children gather. That includes much more than schools and playgrounds; it encompasses places like shopping malls as well. Now apply that logic to our fifteen-year-old sexters. Is that how we want to treat adolescents who engage in adolescent behavior?

willx 2012-09-19 08:57

I think this is quite an interesting topic. I thought I'd provide this tidbit from Canada:

Age of consent is 16. This was raised from 14 on May 1, 2008.
There is however a second age of consent of 18 where the sexual activity "exploits" the young person --

Quote:

..when it involves prostitution, pornography or occurs in a relationship of authority, trust or dependency (e.g., with a teacher, coach or babysitter). Sexual activity can also be considered exploitative based on the nature and circumstances of the relationship, e.g., the young person's age, the age difference between the young person and their partner, how the relationship developed (quickly, secretly, or over the Internet) and how the partner may have controlled or influenced the young person.
And secondly, if not most importantly, before people go on and on about cultural preferences for the "young and innocent" in Japan and how that's different from the rest of the world, please keep in mind that young brides were the norm all over the world historically. We're talking ~12 years old as late as the 1800-1900's

Here's an excellent article on it: http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/230

Kirarakim 2012-09-19 09:15

I agree with SeijiSensei when we are talking about child pornography we need to distinguish between the real stuff (illegal & tough punishment should be issued) and drawings.

Now I don't like drawings that depict child porn (difference between the real stuff). I find it disturbing myself but I also dont think any crime is being committed and I think it's a waste of time to protect drawings. Then again I am against obscene laws in general unless you can prove the obscenity is hurting someone else.

Vexx 2012-09-19 09:19

As far as I'm concerned, there's a real question of sanity when someone starts wanting to ban ink and paper to protect imaginary children. Think of all the cartoon characters who have been killed or brutalized over the years. Poor Wile. E. Coyote!

SeijiSensei 2012-09-19 09:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by willx (Post 4359373)
Age of consent is 16. This was raised from 14 on May 1, 2008. There is however a second age of consent of 18 where the sexual activity "exploits" the young person --

I couldn't tell from reading that list of criteria whether exploitation only occurs when one of the parties is an adult. Can a seventeen-year-old boy be charged with exploitation if he has sex with a fourteen-year-old girl? How about a nineteen-year-old girl and a seventeen-year-old boy? Would that be exempted under the "age difference" criterion?

I understand the rationale for distinctions like the one in the Canadian statute, but it seems to me to give much too much leeway to prosecutors and judges to decide whether a particular case constitutes exploitation and creates the potential for uneven jurisprudence.

The sexting cases provide some good examples. In Florida, two teens were charged with felony child pornography for photographing themselves engaging in an unspecified sex act and emailing the photos to the boy's computer. The sex act itself was not illegal under Florida law, but sending the photographs was. Their convictions were upheld on appeal.

In another notorious case, DA George Skumanick threatened to prosecute 19 kids (though only three boys) with felony child pornography if did they not attend some re-education sessions that Skumanick organized. Most of the girls agreed to take the classes and avoid prosecution, but three of the girls' parents sued. Two of them were twelve-year-olds who had sent a photograph of themselves at a slumber party wearing training bras! Another older girl was threatened with prosecution for sending a boy a photo of herself wearing a towel but exposing her naked breasts. DA Skumanick claimed the twelve-year-olds were "posing provocatively" despite their wearing as much in the photo as they might wear at the beach. He actually told parents he would consider prosecuting girls who took photos of themselves in bikinis on similar grounds.

These are exactly the type of cases that make ambitious narrow-minded prosecutors lick their lips, especially if they are serving in a conservative area where prosecutions like these might help them get reelected. Luckily the good citizens of Wyoming Country, PA, decided to throw Skumanick out of office at the next election.

Vexx 2012-09-19 09:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeijiSensei (Post 4359410)
I couldn't tell from reading that list of criteria whether exploitation only occurs when one of the parties is an adult. Can a seventeen-year-old boy be charged with exploitation if he has sex with a fourteen-year-old girl? How about a nineteen-year-old girl and a seventeen-year-old boy? Would that be exempted under the "age difference" criterion?

If I understand how it is actually getting enforced: if no one complains, there's no exploitation and no one enforces.

SeijiSensei 2012-09-19 09:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vexx (Post 4359421)
If I understand how it is actually getting enforced: if no one complains, there's no exploitation and no one enforces.

I'd bet that in most cases complaints come from one or the other child's parents who object to the child's choice of boyfriend or girlfriend.

willx 2012-09-19 10:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeijiSensei (Post 4359410)
-Stuff-

These are exactly the type of cases that make ambitious narrow-minded prosecutors lick their lips, especially if they are serving in a conservative area where prosecutions like these might help them get reelected. Luckily the good citizens of Wyoming Country, PA, decided to throw Skumanick out of office at the next election.

I don't disagree with what you're saying, but that's a direct U.S. comparison. The Canadian court system and common law actually leaves incredible amounts to jurisprudence. That's how it works here.

Just to give you some context, Canada doesn't even have a single constitution document. Our "constitution" is a number of pieces of documents and "traditions", and I quote wikipedia:

Quote:

The Constitution of Canada (La Constitution du Canada in French) is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. It is one of the oldest working constitutions in the world, with a basis in the Magna Carta.[1] The constitution outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in Canada. Interpretation of the Constitution is called Canadian constitutional law.

SeijiSensei 2012-09-19 10:13

Quote:

Originally Posted by willx (Post 4359451)
I don't disagree with what you're saying, but that's a direct U.S. comparison. The Canadian court system and common law actually leaves incredible amounts to jurisprudence. That's how it works here.

So a prosecutor in Moosejaw could treat the same situation differently from one in Vancouver? Or would a decision in a Vancouver court be considered a controlling precedent for a prosecution in Moosejaw? Here the states can vary wildly in their prosecution of justice as long as they don't come into conflict with the Federal constitution. (In the PA sexting case the actions of the local District Attorney were enjoined on 1st and 14th Amendment grounds, and the injunction upheld in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Sadly the decision didn't reach the question of whether the girls involved, being minors, had First Amendment rights to publish photos of themselves, a somewhat murky area in American Constitutional law.)

willx 2012-09-19 10:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeijiSensei (Post 4359473)
So a prosecutor in Moosejaw could treat the same situation differently from one in Vancouver? Or would a decision in a Vancouver court be considered a controlling precedent for a prosecution in Moosejaw? Here the states can vary wildly in their prosecution of justice as long as they don't come into conflict with the Federal constitution. (In the PA sexting case the actions of the local District Attorney were enjoined on 1st and 14th Amendment grounds, and the injunction upheld in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.)

Canada is based on the British Common Law system and criminal law is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government. Provinces are responsible for administration of the law, but that's it.

Our system is based on precedents, so your Moosejaw example, would mean the judge there has to make a decision based on all existing case law in Canada. A different interpretation would get appealed to the provincial court of appeal and provincial supreme courts and if it is controversial enough and/or important enough, would be seen before the Supreme Court of Canada. Anything that conflicts with existing precedent would be struck down quite easily.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Canada#Criminal_law

SeijiSensei 2012-09-19 10:33

We've gone pretty far off-topic here in a thread devoted to Japanese culture, for which I am somewhat responsible. Let's go back to discussing TRL's earlier questions about what constitutes child pornography and how it should be dealt with. Or should that become the subject for a separate thread? Moderators, if you would like to split this off, please do so.

willx 2012-09-19 10:37

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeijiSensei (Post 4359505)
We've gone pretty far off-topic here in a thread devoted to Japanese culture, for which I am somewhat responsible. Let's go back to discussing TRL's earlier questions about what constitutes child pornography and how it should be dealt with. Or should that become the subject for a separate thread? Moderators, if you would like to split this off, please do so.

I agree. So I will again reiterate that I'm NOT going to accept any sort of "oh it's just Japanese cultural context" --

Quote:

Originally Posted by willx (Post 4359373)
And secondly, if not most importantly, before people go on and on about cultural preferences for the "young and innocent" in Japan and how that's different from the rest of the world, please keep in mind that young brides were the norm all over the world historically. We're talking ~12 years old as late as the 1800-1900's

Here's an excellent article on it: http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/230

As for this whole topic in general - due to increasing standards of living and life expectancy, one would think it was only natural for people to get married, have sex, start a family.. etc etc all later no? Especially since the human body of knowledge has increased so much it just takes longer and longer to get a grasp of it all..

MakubeX2 2012-09-19 11:29

Does a photograph of a 9 year old girl in a plain one-piece swimsuit sitting down with legs extended constitute Child Pornography in the west ? Because this is as far as some junior idol agencies are willing to go for the models under them in their publications and videos.

From what I can tell those models are just acting out their age and being naturally cute, a far cry from the 1990s where publication featuring actual nudity are circulated round legally.

While I can understand the nudity part, it will be harder to convince me that looking at a non-explicit photo of young child paves the road to hell.


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