• Kyodo

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A council of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported to Gov. Yuriko Koike on Tuesday that the metropolis should ban and penalize the act of encouraging children to send selfies online to protect them from falling prey to child pornography.

The metropolitan government will begin the process of amending a relevant ordinance after consulting with the central government about the details of the envisioned penalties. It would be the first ordinance in the country that bans selfie solicitations, according to the local government.

“Once an image gets circulated on the internet, it will be unrecoverable. I want to tackle the ordinance amendment without delay,” Koike said upon receiving the report.

In the report, the council calls for amending the Ordinance for the Sound Development of Youth so encouraging children to send their selfies online despite their refusal or intimidating them into doing so will be banned and penalized.

The report noted that an increasing number of children have become victims of nude selfies every year, and that their cases have come to account for some 40 percent of the child pornography cases on which police have taken action across the country.

Nevertheless, the current child pornography law, due partly to its lack of provision to punish attempted offenses, does not sufficiently keep children from sending images of themselves, the report said.

The envisioned ban and penalties would also apply to those who live outside Tokyo but who encourage children living in Tokyo to provide their selfies, according to the report.

The National Police Agency said in March that the number of cases of child abuse and pornography in Japan reached record highs in 2016, with those who were tricked or coerced into sending their nude photos numbering 480, or 36.6 percent of the total victims.

Around 80 percent of those who sent their nude images online did not know their solicitors, and over 70 percent got to know them through social media sites, the agency report said.

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