After years of pressure, Japan has passed a law banning the possession of child pornography. The move finally brings it in line with the rest of the developed world.
Child rights advocates say it is long overdue. But many say the law doesn’t go far enough, because it excludes sexually explicit depictions of children in anime and manga.
Campaigners say this is a loophole that needs to be closed.
Others worry that censoring drawings and animations could hurt creative industries and violate a constitutional right to free speech.
“When you try to become the ‘thought police’ and tell people what they can draw, what they can write, what they can dream – you go down a very slippery slope,” says Roland Kelts, an author on Japanese pop culture.
Kelts draws a clear line of distinction between actual children used in pornographic scenes and drawings depicting them.
He argues, “No child is exploited when an artist sits down to draw a picture.”