TOKYO—The National police Agency reported Thursday that the number of child porn cases in the country rose in 2010 by more than 43 percent over the previous year, and that the number of victims rose by more than 52 percent, the highest increases since such data was first compiled in 2000.
"The widespread availability of online child pornography in Japan is further fueling the problem in a country where general crime levels are low," reported AFP. "The data found that the Internet was the medium for spreading child porn in 783 cases, accounting for almost 60 percent of the total." 618 children under 18 fell victim to pornographic exploitation, police said, adding they took action in 1,342 child porn cases during 2010.
AFP also reported, "Japan and Russia are the only members of the G8 group of industrialized nations where the possession of child porn remains legal. It is banned and subject to penalties in more than 70 countries.
There has been increasing pressure on Japan to end its lax attitude toward the possession of images of child sexual abuse. Tuesday, groups organized to influence change in the country spoke out on the issue.
"As consumption is not criminalized, demand is always going up," said Junko Miyamoto, from the non-profit group, ECPAT/STOP Japan. "Also, the content of child pornography is getting worse, more cruel."
Bradley Myles, head of the Polaris Project, a Washington-based group that campaigns against human trafficking, said no country can realistically go its own way.
"The actions of any country, including Japan, play an important role in this global effort and when possession of these images is legal in Japan," he said. "it creates a gap and an impediment to the entire international effort to police the problem."