Belatedly, but at long last, Japan has taken a tough stand against child prostitution and pornography. A new law banning the sexual abuse of minors came into effect on Monday. The “law for prohibition of child prostitution” makes it a criminal offense for anyone in Japan, and any Japanese traveling overseas, to pay for sexual intercourse with children under 18. It also bans the production, distribution and sale of pornographic materials featuring children.

Offenders will face up to three years in jail and a fine of up to 1 million yen. The novelty of this new antiprostitution law is that it puts the blame squarely on the adult perpetrators and stresses the importance of treating the minors involved primarily as victims whose rights must be protected and whose future welfare must be taken into account.

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