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Cablegate: Child Pornography in Japan: The Ambassador,S March

VZCZCXRO3399
PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHJO RUEHKW RUEHMA
RUEHPB RUEHVC
DE RUEHKO #0820/01 0850710
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250710Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2855
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCLC/CHILD LABOR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCRI/VIENNA CRIME COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 6842
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 5316
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 9225
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 0509
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 7438
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY IA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIAO/HQ ICE IAO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/JUSTICE DEPT WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 000820

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/J, L/LEI, INL, G/TIP
JUSTICE FOR CEOS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KCRM KOCI PREL JA
SUBJECT: CHILD PORNOGRAPHY IN JAPAN: THE AMBASSADOR,S MARCH
19 MEETING WITH THE HEAD OF KOMEITO

REF: TOKYO 0694

TOKYO 00000820 001.2 OF 002


1. Summary: Something must be done to save children who are
being abused everyday for child pornography, the Ambassador
told Komeito Chief Representative Akihiro Ota on March 19.
Questions about possible human rights abuses if simple
possession is criminalized are not as important as preventing
the abuse that is occurring right now. Arguments about
possible abuses are theoretical, agreed Ota. Children with
futures are being damaged right now. Once these children are
saved, then society can address any problems with police
abuse of power, Ota said. End Summary.

2. Child pornography is a terrible crime that is occurring
not only in Japan, but also in the United States and across
the world, the Ambassador told Komeito Chief Representative
Akihiro Ota during a March 19 meeting. Unlike prostitution,
gambling, or drug abuse, which are described as victimless
crimes, there is always a victim in child pornography. A
child doesn't have the legal capacity to give consent. One
of the crime's most heartbreaking aspects is that a record of
the abuse exists for the rest of the victim's life. The
United States and Japan should work together to address this
terrible crime, the Ambassador asserted. Although some
people are concerned that criminalizing simple possession
might give the police too much power, child abuse is
occurring now as a result of child pornography. It's not a
question of abuse that might occur in the future. If
governments don't take action, this abuse will continue, the
Ambassador added.

3. "I feel the same way - the same sense of crisis," said
Ota. Dietmembers with legal backgrounds fear possible abuses
of police power or of the freedom of speech, but children
with futures are being damaged right now. Governments must
rescue these children first, and then address human rights
issues. This prioritization is important, said Ota. Japan
must face the fact in a "candid and honest way" that it and
Russia are the only two G8 countries where it is legal to
possess this material. It is possible to protect civil
liberties and protect children, replied the Ambassador. As
other G8 countries have done, the Diet can come up with
legislation that will protect both children and the rights of
individuals.

4. After the embarrassment of being singled out in the 1996
Stockholm Conference as a "major" country for child
pornography, passing the child pornography law in 1999 was a
positive step, said Komeito Upper House member Toshiko
Hamayotsu. She added her thanks to the Ambassador for his
advocacy on this matter with the Minister of Justice (reftel)
and with other members of the Diet. Even though many
lawmakers who participated in drafting the 1999 law wanted to
criminalize simple possession, they allowed a compromise on
the issue to ensure the bill would pass. As a result, Japan
is now a major child pornography exporter. Japan should also
criminalize child pornography anime (cartoons) and manga
(comics), stated Hamayotsu.

5. It is important to recognize that there is a difference
between anime and manga and child pornography that involves
real children, the Ambassador responded. It is most
important to criminalize the possession of child pornography
involving real children, but the U.S. position is that anime
and manga with child pornographic images should be also
criminalized. When people engaging in deviant behavior see
this material, it encourages them to do more deviant things
by making them feel that their behavior is normal. The
internet has the same effect by allowing people who view
child pornography to meet and connect with people like them.
The U.S. government applauds the 1999 legislation passed in
Japan, but subsequent expansion of the internet has caused an
explosion in this activity, the Ambassador pointed out.

6. During a March 18 meeting with members of the Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ), some DPJ members stated that they could

TOKYO 00000820 002.2 OF 002


never support criminalizing simple possession because they
would lose the support of the police and of anime/manga
publishing companies, reported Komeito Councilor Akira Matsu.
In Japan, there is a tendency to differentiate between
reality and the theoretical, added Ota, suggesting that the
DPJ position is based on the latter. Human rights issues
like freedom of speech are important, but expanding rights
from the child's point of view is the direction that Japan
must choose, said Ota.

7. "I couldn't agree more," the Ambassador answered. The
United States faced a similar issue when outlawing "snuff
films" that depicted a person's death. No one was talking
about freedom of expression at that time because killing a
person is a crime. Child pornography is the same: the crime
begins when the material is made, and persons who possess the
material are legally liable for aiding and abetting the
crime. The United States and Japan must make it known that
the children of every country are suffering. Noting that
some DPJ Diet members had told him how important the child
pornography issue is to them, the Ambassador told Ota that he
plans to meet with members of the DPJ, and asked if Ota and
his colleagues had any other meeting recommendations.
Hamayotsu suggested that the Ambassador meet with DPJ
Representative Edano, who is one of the proposed revision's
most vocal opponents, as well as the leadership of the Japan
Federation of Bar Associations, which actively opposes any
action that could be seen to be infringing on the rights of
the individual.

8. People who oppose criminalizing simple possession are
most likely the minority among the Japanese public, noted
Komeito Representative Kaori Maruya. The "silent majority"
of Japanese would probably support criminalization, but they
are not aware of the problem. The more we can cooperate, the
more we can make them aware, the Ambassador replied. No
mother or father would want their child to suffer this kind
of abuse, and neither the United States nor Japan has the
kind of civilization that can allow it to continue. Although
some will raise legal questions about ways to protect rights
and prevent police abuse, these are discussions about what
might happen if the laws pass. Children are being abused
today and will be abused tomorrow, and if we don't do
something about it, "it is on all of our consciences," the
Ambassador concluded.
SCHIEFFER

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