The Japanese Communist Party states their elimination of child pornography will not violate the freedom of expression in anime and manga.
In a recent update to the party’s policy, readers became concerned about a seeming contradiction in their statements regarding “Women and Gender,” and “Culture“. In regards to Women and Gender, the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) affirms their stance against child pornography, and that it must be eliminated from society.
In the Culture section however, they come out in defense of “Freedom of Expression” for creators of anime and manga; even if those works include “depictions of child sexual abuse.” This has sparked a conversation in Japanese news about the JCP’s policy, and how these two statements may interact.
The largest contradiction actually comes from 2014, when the JCP proposed that child pornography be changed to “depictions of child sexual abuse.” In a recent statement however (translation: DeepL, adjusted), the JCP claims that their intention was for this change to not apply to creative works, and for the law to apply to harms against real children.
“The term ‘child pornography’ has long been proposed by the Japanese Communist Party to be changed to ‘depictions of child sexual abuse’ or other terms that more appropriately describe the actual damage (see the minutes of the House of Councillors Committee on Justice, June 17, 2014). This is from the perspective that the legal interest protected by the Child Pornography Prohibition Law (enacted in 1999, amended in 2004 and 2014) is the freedom and personality of real children, and that its provisions should not be based on obscenity or subjective factors, but rather on an assessment of the seriousness of the harm to the child.
This policy on ‘Women and Gender’ does not propose legal restrictions on expressive and creative works in a single step. It is a call for a wide range of concerned parties to engage in extensive discussions and create a social consensus that does not allow children to be subjected to sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, in light of international indications of the current situation in Japan.
We believe that such discussions are important for the creators and lovers of manga, anime, games, etc. to protect their freedom of expression against legal restrictions under the guise of ‘child pornography control’.”
Historically, the Japanese Communist Party has voted in favor of protecting the freedom of expression of artists. In 2010 all 8 seats of the JCP in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly voted against a bill that would restrict sexualized depictions of “nonexistent youth“.