Japan Outlaws Possession of Child Pornography, but Comic Book Depictions Survive

TOKYO — Yielding to years of pressure to fall in line with the rest of the developed world, Japan’s Parliament outlawed the possession of child pornography on Wednesday. But the new law left untouched the nation’s popular and sometimes sexually explicit manga comics as well as other portrayals of young girls as objects of sexual desire.

By an overwhelming margin, lawmakers from the governing and opposition parties joined to pass the legislation to close a loophole in a 1999 law that had banned the production and distribution of child pornography. While the older law did remove much child pornography from public view, critics including prominent conservative politicians have lamented that Japan was the only member of groups of developed nations like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or O.E.C.D., that still allowed its possession.


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