Manga,Anime Excluded from Child Pornography Ban in Japan
Manga,Anime Excluded from Japan's First-ever Child Pornography BanReuters

Japan, for the first time in history, has banned the possesion of child pornography and made it a criminal offense. The Parliament's ban, however, will not have any impact on the sexually explicit Manga and Anime.

Japan, a safe haven for buying child pornography, is among the last of the developed nations to criminalize the possession of child pornography.

Under the new law, those caught with child pornography face up to one year in prison, or a $10,000 fine. The legislation, however, gives the offenders a year's time to get rid of the materials.

In Japan, a quick glance through bookstores and subway ads would tell you that young women are seen as sex objects. A small but significant part of Japan's Manga and Anime market includes graphic, sexual depictions of children, including stories of incest.

And even though there is no ban on Manga and Anime, publishers are still opposed to the revised law, reported Japan Times.

"This could lead to a regression in freedom of expression and put a strain on artists and the publishing culture. This cannot be accepted," the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, which represents 90 publishing companies, stressed in a statement on its website.

A few, however, are disappointed that the new legislation has exempted Manga containing adult content. In several crimes involving young people, Manga and Anime have been found to be a motivating factor, a Japanese politician noted.

"I believed we should go a step further and take a look at manga and anime in which children are sexually abused," Masatada Tsuchiya of the Liberal Democratic Party told the local daily.

Tsuchiya, who himself is an avid manga reader, stated that freedom of expression is important but some of the Manga and Anime work were 'so depraved' that they are not worth defending.

Nonetheless, it's a good start. 

The ban would help the police to crack down on child pornography as buyers can be held and questioned, which could lead the investigating agencies to other collectors and possibly to the bigger distributors and manufacturers as well. The law will be in effect from next month.

Child pornography in Japan has seen a 10-fold increase in the last decade, based on police seizures. The local daily, based on national data, reported that there were 1,644 cases in 2013 related to child pornography, which is around 10 times more than a decade ago. Most of child pornography cases are about sharing or selling photos or videos on the internet.

Activists and campaigners have welcomed the ban and are relieved that finally there is a law that will help curb Japan's growing child sex problem. 

"Under the existing circumstances, the suffering and damage has become more critical. I really hope that the law rescues suffering child victims, as well as the victims damaged in the past by stopping the circulation of child porn," activist Shihoko Fujiwara told CNN.

"This is the epoch-making event for Japan."