Japan child porn cases surge to record high

TOKYO: Japanese police investigated almost 600 child porn cases in the first half of the year — a new record and 60 per cent more than in the same period last year, a government survey said yesterday.

The surge in part reflects stepped-up efforts by police to stop the sexual exploitation of minors and a crackdown on Internet pornography depicting children, a senior agency official said, according to Jiji Press.

The cases involved 295 child victims, the National Policy Agency said — almost double the number from last year and the highest since the agency started keeping such data a decade ago.

Japan is considered a major global source of child pornography photographs and videos, in part because while the production and distribution of such pornography is illegal in the country, its possession is not. Victims’ support groups point out that in many cases the children’s faces are exposed, condemning them to a life of shame and trauma as their images live on and are widely distributed on the Internet.

The survey found that the Internet was the medium for spreading the child porn in 55 per cent of cases.

In July, Japan pledged a three-year strategy to eradicate child pornography — including through promotion of online filtering software and cooperation with internet service providers to block or delete illicit images.— AFP

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