In the Empire of Child Pornography: AMAZON JAPAN REMOVES CHILD PORN FROM THEIR WEBSITE May 2009
by Jake Adelstein and Polaris Project Japan
“Idols” in Japan refer to pin-up girls, teen pop stars, and generally young models. However, prepubescent “idols” are called “junior idols,” a word which has been co-opted to distribute child pornography.
The internet and bookstores and major telecommunication companies subscription services often sell “junior idol” photos and movies, and the sexual depictions in them have become more extreme in recent years.
The term “child pornography” as used in the Act on Punishment of Activities Relating to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and the Protection of Children bans photographs and recording media which depicts any pose of a child engaged in sexual intercourse or any conduct similar to sexual intercourse. Also, the Act terms child pornography as visual materials with any pose of a child wholly or partially naked.
Although many of the “junior idols” DVDs and photo books don’t directly violate the law, they are full of scenes introducing young school girls and boys, wearing revealing, skimpy bikinis, or wet t-shirts and or speedo briefs– or posing for sexual acts—and these scenes clearly made to arouse or stimulate the viewer’s sexuual desire. There’s no one who sincerely doubts it’s pedophile junk food.
Polaris Project Japan spent several months researching the photo albums and DVDs on major online store including Amazon Japan and made a list of 136 such DVDs and books with 8-17 year-old children depicted in sexually provocative poses and requested Amazon Japan to stop selling them.
Responding to the request, Amazon Japan removed 84 items from their online store this May. Polaris Project welcomes the initiative taken by Amazon Japan continues to advocate on this issue.
Author’s note: Japanese bookstores now regularly carry “junior idol” materials with sexual themes, text, and poses, and there are several pornographic magazines which include “junior idol” sections. Japan is still one of the few countries where owning child pornography is legal.
For more information about Amazon’s decision to remove the DVDs read the article on Sankei Shimbun on May 18, 2009:
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/crime/090518/crm0905180136001-n1.htm (in Japanese)