Several industry associations involved in anime and manga have expressed their opposition towards the proposed amendment to Japan’s current child pornography laws. The Liberal Democratic Party-led bill seeks to make possession of child pornography a crime that can bring a fine of one million yen and less than a year of jail time if the purpose of the materials is for “satisfying sexual curiosity.”
The Japan Book Publishers Association said that while they appreciate that the bill protects children, it will also restrict freedom of expression. The statement from the association questions why anime and manga were specifically cited in the amendment when it is the human rights of “actual children” that are being protected. They fear that the bill will risk destroying “Japan’s cherished manga culture.” The Japan Cartoonists Association said putting regulations on anime and manga will badly affect the industry and might cause “turmoil”. Other organizations that have posted their own objections to the proposed amendments are the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, Japan’s Dōjinshi Sellers Association and the Comic Market Preparations Committee which is the organizer of the largest dōjinshi (fan-produced manga) event in the world.
Current child pornography laws say that possession of child pornography is not illegal as long as the owner is not selling, distributing or creating the images or video. The proposed amendment has not been made public yet but Taro Yamada of the center-right political party Your Party has 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. The bill, which is also co-sponsored by the New Komeito Party and the Japan Restoration Party,has been submitted to the National Diet and would need a majority vote between the Lower and Upper House to become a law.
[ via Anime News Network ]