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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Japan sets sights on online child porn
Porn newsgroup
Japan's laws on child porn have been criticised as lax
Japan is planning to tighten the laws on child pornography on the internet.

The government was hoping to put forward legislation to criminalise the transmission of such material online in time for the next ordinary session of parliament in January, said an official.

Although it is illegal to sell or distribute child pornography in Japan, there are no laws to stop individuals who show pornographic images of children on their websites.

The proposed measures are intended to bring Japan into line with other nations who support a Council of Europe treaty on cyber-crime.

The treaty covers the destruction of data or hardware as well as online child pornography, copyright theft and other internet crimes.

Closing a loophole

Japan is believed to be the world's largest distributor of child pornography, despite a landmark 1999 law that made it illegal to sell or distribute child pornography.

The new measures would close a loophole which allows the transmission of child porn on the internet.

Other measures may include prohibiting the downloading of child pornography on to floppy disks and passing them to another person.

Officials said details of penalties, including the length of any prison terms for violators, had yet to be worked out.

See also:

19 Mar 02 | Americas
FBI busts major child porn ring
17 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Child sex trade 'is terrorism'
10 Sep 01 | Americas
Shock over US child sex trade
19 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Internet is 'paedophile playground'
21 Jun 01 | Americas
Child web users are sex targets
16 Apr 02 | Americas
US court quashes child porn law
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