Japan Finally Outlaws Possession of Child Pornography

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TOKYO - Japan’s parliament passed a bill outlawing the possession of child pornography on Wednesday, but will not put the law into effect for a year to allow people to dispose of any questionable material.

Previously, the country’s laws only penalized the buying and selling pornographic material depicting people under the age of 18.

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"For more than 10 years, Japan was identified as a country that did not outlaw simple possession of child pornography. In that sense we are extremely happy," a spokeswoman for Lighthouse, a NGO that campaigns against child pornography, told NBC News. "It's the first step in preventing the dissemination of what we call 'child-violating images'."

While the penalties for possessing sexuality explicit material of children will now include up to one year in prison or a $10,000 fine, anime and cartoons will not be punishable under the new law. Publishers and artists had argued that the ban could be applied incorrectly and threaten their freedom of expression.

- Arata Yamamoto