Japan Finally Bans Child Porn Possession

But law won't cover anime, manga depictions of abuse

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 18, 2014 2:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – After many years as the only major industrialized country where the possession of child pornography was still legal, Japan has finally taken steps to ban it. The upper house of the country's parliament has passed a bill that will punish people found with explicit images of children with up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $10,000. Implementation of the law will be delayed for a year to allow people to dispose of now-banned material, and it only covers real children: Pedophilia in manga and anime will still be allowed, reports the Japan Times.

Campaigners who say the law is long overdue also wanted child sexual abuse banned in manga, but representative of the industry say such censorship would restrict freedom of expression. The chief of one of the country's best-known manga houses admits that some of the industry's products disgust him and his colleagues. "But rich, deep culture is born from something that might not be accepted by all," he tells CNN. "We need to allow the gray zone to exist as a necessary evil."

Tokyo's Akihabara district is a center for anime and manga.
Tokyo's Akihabara district is a center for anime and manga.   (Shutterstock.com/Sean Pavone)
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