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LDP mulls drafting laws against ‘revenge porn’

JIJI

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has moved closer to curbing “revenge pornography,” or the online placement of sexually explicit photos without the consent of the people pictured, typically by ex-partners.

A special panel that the LDP set up in February to explore ways to draft laws against revenge porn released an interim report on June 18 that lists punishment for displaying sexually explicit images without the consent of those pictured, and measures to expedite their immediate removal. The panel may submit related bills to an extraordinary session of the Diet to be convened later in the year.

“The existing laws have been left behind by technological advances and don’t take into account the viewpoint of victims,” said Junko Mihara, an LDP member of the House of Councilors who serves as secretary-general of the panel.

The new laws will deter revenge porn because people will recognize the practice as a crime, she said.

Japan has no law that deals with revenge porn directly. The police therefore crack down on the practice using laws against child pornography, public obscenity and defamation.

But the law against child pornography doesn’t apply to images of people 18 or older. Also, it may not be possible to build a case that can be prosecuted if the pictured person feels embarrassed about a photo but is clothed.

According to a group that provides online counseling about Internet-related issues, inquiries about revenge porn began rising sharply in October 2013. The monthly figure now averages 25 to 32, compared with three or fewer between January 2012 and September 2013.