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Japanese Porn Censors Arrested

Charged with violating their own guidelines

Japanese Porn Censors Arrested
TOKYO - Variety reports that Katsumi Ono, the head censor of the Nihon Ethics of Video Association (NEVA), and four other video-business figures have been arrested by Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department for allowing adult DVDs into the country's marketplace in violation of NEVA's own obscenity guidelines.

Two of the others arrested, Hiroyuki Gorokawa and Yukio Umezawa, head up DVD production companies. According to Variety, this is the first such arrest of a censorship body official.

Ono has been charged with approving two adult titles submitted to NEVA by Gorokawa's company, h*m*p, in July and August of 2006, and not properly censoring sex scenes.

According to Variety, close to 13,000 copies of the two titles entered the Japanese marketplace. Variety noted that police said Ono took no action despite NEVA being notified by DVD sellers of the problems with the two DVDs. For his part, Ono denied the charges, though the other four suspects are alleged to have admitted their involvement.

According to Variety, Japanese censors use "mosaics" or digital masking to obscure sexual organs in adult videos. Police charged that the mosaics of the two DVDs in question did not do enough to hide the on-screen action.

The Variety article went on to note that NEVA has been losing members as adult DVD companies, competing with censorship-free internet porn, migrate to new organizations with more relaxed standards. Variety cited that, during the past two years, DVD shipments by NEVA companies have declined by 40 percent. Variety alleged that NEVA, desperate to slow this decline, has ignored its own obscenity guidelines and has thus drawn the attention of the police.

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Mike Albo

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