June 30, 2022

Japan Passes Bill to Prevent Youth Exploitation by Porn Industry

The national legislature in Japan on Wednesday passed a bill into law designed to help prevent young Japanese people from being exploited by the pornography industry, Kyodo News reported.

People in Japan who have agreed to appear in pornographic content may terminate their relevant contracts “at any time before the film’s public release without conditions, as well as up to a year afterward,” according to the new legislation.

Detailing the bill’s provisions on June 15, the Tokyo-based Kyodo News agency wrote:

If the contract is terminated, video vendors are obliged to recover the products and delete the footage, and cannot claim compensation from the performers.

The bill, passed at a House of Councillors plenary session, also mandates that a month must pass between the signing of a contract and the filming of the video, and four months between the filming of the video and its public release. This gives enough time for those who appear in them to reconsider whether they still want to make the film and release it.

Producers must additionally provide a written explanation to performers describing the nature of the content, including specific sexual acts required during filming, and the fact that they may be identifiable.

If a court finds that the producers of a pornographic film have either falsely represented the actions required for a shoot or committed acts of intimidation against its participants, the relevant persons will face punishments including “a prison term of up to three years or a fine of up to 3 million yen ($22,000) for an individual, or 100 million yen [$745,949 USD] for a corporation,” Kyodo News noted on Wednesday.

Though the pornography legislation passed on June 15 does not explicitly apply to specific ages or genders, the bill was proposed shortly after Japan’s federal government on April 1 lowered the age of adulthood from 20 to 18. The timing suggests that the new law may unofficially aim to help protect younger Japanese people. Japanese law defines “pornography” as “video productions of sexual acts.”

Japanese sociologist Doi Takayoshi in April provided a possible reason for the seeming prevalence of young Japanese people within the country’s pornography industry. Speaking to Japan’s Nippon news website on April 18 about the “seeming passivity and apathy of Generation Z,” Doi said he recently researched why juvenile crime in Japan has dropped sharply in recent decades.

“[T]hey expect less from their own lives,” Doi said of today’s Japanese youth.

“Since they don’t let their hopes get too high, their dissatisfaction never builds to the point of triggering criminal conduct,” he concluded.

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