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Japan finally passes law banning child pornography possession

Figurines dressed as school girls are seen in a window in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Photo: Image by Getty Images

Japan finally passes law banning child pornography possession

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Jun 18, 2014

Until now, Japan had laws against the production and distribution of child pornography, but not the ownership and or possession of it. That is about to change.

Individuals found with explicit images of children can be fined up to $10,000 or face one year of jail time. Those caught with banned material have one year to dispose of it.

"Under the existing circumstances, the suffering and damage has become more critical," Shihoko Fujiwara of the Lighthouse organization, tells CNN. "I really hope that the law rescues suffering child victims, as well as the victims damaged in the past by stopping the circulation of child porn. This is the epoch-making event for Japan."

Lighthouse is a nonprofit organization which helps exploited children.

"It's been 10 years and it's finally changed. I'm so pleased that Japan finally moved one step toward the international standard," Fujiwara further shares with CNN.

According to CNN, "The U.S. State Department's 2013 report on human rights practices in Japan labels the country 'an international hub for the production and trafficking of child pornography.'" Adding, "It cited Japanese police data showing the number of child pornography investigations in 2012 rose 9.7% from a year earlier to a record of 1,596. The cases involved 1,264 child victims, almost twice as many as in the previous year."

Although this is a victory for campaigners against child sexual abuse, the new law does not ban the possession of explicit anime or the adult graphic novels known as manga. This in itself leaves many to believe that the ultimate fight to protect exploited children is not over just yet.