TOKYO—AFP has reported that a group of Japanese internet service providers began blocking child pornography sites Thursday. While the possession of images of child sexual abuse remains legal in Japan, production and distribution are not. The country is still recognized as a leading producer of the contraband, and has become an international pariah of sorts in recent years for its historically lax attitude in addressing the issue.
In 2010, the number of child porn cases in the country rose 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. Because of that disturbing trend and in reaction to the international pressure, authorities have stepped up enforcement and now action is finally being taken at the ISP level.
“The Internet Content Safety Association, established in March with 21 member companies, said nine leading providers had started preventing users from accessing sites containing pornographic images of children,” AFP reported. “More than 100 websites are subject to the block, said local media reports. The nine companies, including NEC Biglobe, NTT Communications and KDDI, between them cover about 50-70 percent of online households, according to the National Policy Agency.”
Major search engines, including Google and Yahoo, have also join the fight, promising that sites identified by the association—which has been compiling a list based on information from the Internet Hotline Centre Japan—will not appear in search results.