In what we swear, really, was a real story reported on the prestigious New York Times, Japan passed a law this week outlawing the possession of child pornography. Apparently, according to the Times, they didn't have one before, but now they do. Though a law passed in 1999 outlawed the production and distribution of child porn, actually possessing it was, again, apparently, not technically illegal. The law banning its possession passed by "an overwhelming margin," meaning there were at least a few politicians who voted against it.
But fear not, fans of... child porn manga. It seems that, thanks to the power and influence of the Japanese manga publishing industry, an exemption was built into the law for manga and anime to depict all the all the child porn it feels like - which, if I'm reading this right, is something that I guess they feel like doing pretty often. The Times also points out that the law "also leaves untouched a vast gray area in which young girls are depicted in sexually suggestive ways. This includes everything from images of the all-girl bands of Japanese pop music posing in lingerie and bikinis, to fantasy illustrations with the faces of prepubescent girls atop the scantily clad bodies of voluptuous adults."
Holy shit, Japan. Holy shit.
I mean, technically, these are drawings, and art shouldn't be censored and all that, but jeeze, is all I'm saying, you know? Man.
It seems that the police in Japan have been pushing for this legislation for years, but manga publishers have been blocking it for fear that the law would ban - and again, these are the words of the New York Times, not mine - "illustrated depictions of naked or nearly naked prepubescent girls, sometimes engaged in explicit sexual acts."
Politicians explained the exemptions by pointing out, rightly, that artistic depictions are imaginary, and also that they are opposed to curtailing artistic expression, which, you know, fair enough. But still, really, uh, wow, Japan. If nothing else, I'm impressed with how much influence the comics business has in Japan. Here in America, we can't even get 7-Eleven to stock a spinner rack anymore.
Anyone caught with explicit pictures of children - just to be clear, actual photographs - drawings are okay, so don't worry if you've got some of those - could face a year in prison and a $10,000 fine.