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Japan Tightens the Ban on Under-Age Sex

May 19, 1999 ·  , New York Times

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Published in the New York Times
(May 19, 1999)

TOKYO- The Japanese Parliament enacted a law in May aimed at banning child prostitution and child pornography. The law, which is to go into effect later this year, punishes those found guilty of paying for sex with children 17 and younger, and bans the sale, distribution, production, possession, import and export of child pornography.

Current laws are vague and require a victim to file a complaint before the police can take action. Producers of child pornography have found it easy to evade existing laws by avoiding pictures that show. intercourse and blacking out eyes and portions of some body parts.

Japanese companies have arranged tours to Asian countries whose over riding aim is to introduce men to children with whom they can have sex, although more stringent laws against child prostitution in countries like Thailand and the Philippines have made such trips rare.

But it was the explosive growth of the Internet, with its ability to facilitate wide distribution of images that put Japan on the map as the leading source of child pornography. Interpol, the international police agency has estimated that between 70 percent and 80 percent of the child pornography available on the Internet comes from Japanese sources.

(New York Times, May 19, 1999)

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