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Police Ban Thousands of Dating Sites


Major social networks in Japan have been forced to close hundreds if not thousands of online communities alleged to have been used for online dating, whilst police have launched a drive to close unregistered dating sites; all this comes as a result of a new law forcing any sites with dating activity to register with police or shut down.

An attempt to crack down on the popular schoolgirl job of prostitute, euphemised as “enjo kousai”, or compensated dating, is the reason for the ban.

With the choice to close or register, sites have little option, and major social sites Mixi and Mobagetown have been purging any suspect groups.

The major provisions of the restriction are designed to keep minors from accessing the services; ages should be checked by the management, by way of either providing copies or images of official documents certifying age, or by utilising credit cards or similar means to ensure minors are excluded.

With a full list of all the users of such services in hand, operators must also provide full details on demand to police, and can be ordered to close at the discretion of authorities. It appears no oversight of this capability is provided for.

Public access to such sites is also strictly forbidden, with registration now required in all cases.

The ban also lays out restrictions on who can run a site, making it clear that yakuza and convicted lolicon should not be involved.

Posts to a site which attempt to solicit underage sex are strictly forbidden, with a comprehensive variety of posts covered. Fines of up to a million yen are possible for anyone (including the minors) making such offending posts.

Several thousand sites have registered with the authorities; it is not clear how many remain or how many have closed unrecorded as a result of the law. Police continue to hunt the uncooperative sites.

Considering that both the lolicon and the schoolgirls seem intent on actively seeking each other’s company by whatever means, it will be interesting to see if this has the intended effect, or merely popularises other means…

Via ZakZak.

These measures come in the wake of an increasing amount of state mandated Internet censorship in Japan; now all PCs and mobile phones must come with filtering provision, and a nationwide database of “undesirable” sites covering everything from porn to unpalatable political views has been set up.

This database has already been made the subject of ridicule, with vast numbers of sites misclassified by way of entirely opaque processes; more disturbingly, the system has at times been abused by ne’er-do-wells who report innocuous sites they wish to see filtered.

Lax checking ensures that these reports can result in an inappropriate ban, which is only repealed by a report from the website operator, requiring constant vigilance.

ISPs and savvy net users alike have been exasperated at the lack of technical consideration given to the matter by politicians, who in most cases are not well versed in Internet matters.

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  • I’m gonna delve right into politics here. The argument the Japanese government is making for this is the same argument that the Bush administration used here in the states with the god-forsaken Patriot Act that did little but piss the population off. We sacrificed a big part of our liberty (right to privacy) for the so-called “safety” of our country – I don’t know about you, but I find it terribly hard for there to be a proper justification for the use of Big Brother within the U.S. – 9/11 or not. Those neocon extremists here in the states use the “BUT WAT IF THAR IZ A TERRORIST” argument, but I haven’t seen this Patriot Act do anything to protect us.

    What we’re seeing here in this article is Japan doing the equivalent of the Patriot Act was doing to protect the country not from terrorists, but from potential child molesters in a manner that is entirely draconian and out of character for a country like Japan. However, as the Patriot Act has shown, it did little but piss people off and violate our fourth amendment rights. It created fear of our government (which was pretty damn corrupt when run under Bush and Darth Cheney) and was entirely unnecessary to keep the terrorists we keep pissing our pants about out of our nation.

    I can see the HUGE potential for abuse by the police here – I thought Japan was a capitalist economy, but what they’re doing here by demanding dating sites to “register” with the government is ludicrous and reeks of their Chinese neighbors next door, who willingly piss upon human rights for the sake of a “better and safer society”. It will only make the population more distrustful of the government and hinder the development of such sites.

    Laws are good, but only if they make sense. This law doesn’t make any fucking sense. Put up some rules and regulations for these sites, yes, but demanding that these sites hand over all that personal information and register with the government? Fuck no.

      • Anonymous says:

        It counts as a liberty to run a dating site. If you give up part of that liberty for the illusion of having made the world a safer place for children, then you are stupid enough not to deserve that liberty. You don’t deserve security against the increasingly more oppressive government either, since you are the one who allowed it to become like this.

        • Hmm guess it wasn’t noticed that I was using 5 year olds as an extreme example, and being completely unrealistic. This has pretty much been covered above if you feel like reading a little. This isn’t a matter of what the definition of a minor is, it’s about the laws in place and the regulations the government is enacting. My mindset does not see anyone of a certain age to be a minor. I believe that people under 18 do have the ability to make informed decisions about their own lives, but it is not the majority. However, you have to go by what is stated by the law. A person’s maturity does not exempt them from this, no matter how you justify it. It’s about prostituting oneself, and the consequences both parties must face for their actions. Those who have broken either prostitution or child abuse laws have lost what protection the government could have offered. Once the child has broken this law I can no longer see them as a minor, which is why I am for their legal ramifications. The laws are there to try and protect, but once you abuse the law it no longer helps you. But again, I think the steps currently taken are too extreme and will see little (if any) benefit. And, yes, there will never be a way to completely protect every individual.

        • rockbottom says:

          The problem here is your perception of a minor is around toddler age. I’m sorry, but these sites are not being used by 5 year-olds. If they are then we have a much deeper problem than just putting in some useless laws can possibly solve.

          With the exception of prostitution under duress, I would say that most of the girls on these sites know full well what they are doing. What will probably happen is someone will pervert the laws to their own agenda, like how Megan’s law is being used against the very people it was supposed to protect.

          While your heart is in the right place you are arguing with the mindset of someone who’s been taught that a minor is a minor no matter how old or young they are. And laws should be made to ignore that fact. Right.

        • Let’s get rid of all laws then, we can’t stop people from committing crimes anyway. Might as well get rid of police forces and jails, too. It can’t be a crime if it isn’t illegal. Anarchy is the best form of government.

          Patriotic act = invasion of privacy. A HUGE no-no. Should be illegal no matter how you look at it. Like I said before, they are going too far with their internet censorship. But letting it run rampant to a point where anyone has easy, unrestricted access to minors is not the best way to deal with it. That would only perpetuate the crimes. It doesn’t even compare to the patriotic act.

        • I don’t understand what you are saying. It’s okay to hook up with 5 year olds on dating sites because it’s the right of the dating site to allow it? But if the government doesn’t allow the 5 year olds to use these dating sites the country turns to communism for imposing regulations? And in-turn you no longer have the privilege to change government through democracy because the people willingly allowed such regulations? I don’t get it.

  • Gotta say is this japan or china. Serioulsy it sounds like something the chinese would do. This orld just gets more f’d up every day dosn’t it. Oh well will probably change later on.

    The opinions posted in this comment are solely the opinion of the poster and in no way affiliated with the site they are. (couldn’t resist with all the people bitching i had to add this)

  • I see where they are coming from, but I highly doubt becoming internet nazis will solve anything. The dating sites makes some sense, though having access to all that information, and being able to close them down without discretion, just screams police abuse to me. But banning porn sites (assuming not just kiddy porn), anti-political sites, and others on a user-based reporting system? Now that is just too much. Honestly, what are they trying to accomplish with all of this? Next thing you know they are gonna start banning MMOG’s, reading your e-mail, and checking your online banking statements. It’s frightening when people have power, and can use it to manipulate the general public to follow them. Where is the outrage from the people?

    Well the only good I can see coming from this is the minors are finally being punished for their actions. About time they realized that not all minors are “pure and innocent victims.”

    • Next thing you know they are gonna start banning MMOG’s, reading your e-mail, and checking your online banking statements

      Before you know it, you’re behind the great chinese (fire)wall!

      This is exactly why censorship of any kind on the internet is bad… you never reach the people you want to reach and put people in control of things they shouldn’t have control over.

    • Like I said a few comments above: you want to punish them equally? Then fukken lower the age of consent! It’s just unfair to say “children below the age of 18 are unable to give their consent to sexual activity” while punishing them as if they knew what they were doing. Of course they were, but then this should be reflected by age of consent laws.

      • How can you punish them if it no longer becomes illegal? Age of consent is there (in theory) to protect “minors” from being sexually abused by adults. Can a 16 year old willingly consent to sex with someone much older? Without a doubt. It’s harder to tell, however, if they fully understand the situation. Contraception, diseases, pregnancy, etc. Not to say all are ignorant to these, but I’m sure many lack the information and experience. It is also fairly easy to persuade someone that young by one mean or another. If the age of consent were to be lowered, no doubt they would be preyed upon more so than now. Having young people being taken advantage of for being naive is hardly a means to rectify the problem.

        As for the current situation: prostituting themselves is still a crime. I don’t believe they should be fully charged as an adult, but you can’t say they are not at fault just because they knew what they were doing and the law is unfair. Being aware of your actions is not a reason to make it legal. Some laws are ridiculous (like freedom of speech bans), but this one is taken pretty seriously.

        • * always

          “When a minor charges a fee for sex the part where they don’t know what they are doing becomes null, yet still constitutes as sex with a minor. Therefore, the adult broke two laws: prostitution and child sexual abuse. Whereas the minor broke the law of prostitution. Both of which are punishable.”

          Ok, I’ll admit you have a point there, although It might be a different story if the girl works for an establishment. She might be a victim of sexual slavery then. But that’s not what this law tries to address of course.

        • “In most of Europe (and I presume the US/Canada), “Age of Consent” means the age at which a child becomes legally liable for their actions.”

          You sure about that? I alway was under the impression that age of consent and age of criminal responsibility are independent from each other (I know for sure that they are in Germany). I always thought the AoC dealt mainly with sexuality.

        • The situation no longer becomes a problem with just age of consent, though. It also becomes a problem of child prostitution, an act where the provider (in this case the child) can be punished. Age of consent means you can’t have sex with a minor, and does not take into account a form of compensation. When a minor charges a fee for sex the part where they don’t know what they are doing becomes null, yet still constitutes as sex with a minor. Therefore, the adult broke two laws: prostitution and child sexual abuse. Whereas the minor broke the law of prostitution. Both of which are punishable. This is why I say the adult should face a severer punishment, but the minor is also not without fault. Had there been no compensation, I would agree with you that the adult would be the only one at fault. True, the laws are sketchy at best, but this is the way I perceive it. This counts as one of those grey areas in my opinion. But I do believe the child committed a crime and should face consequences.

          Also, although it is bad to put it this way, if the child is not punished the problem (if it is seen as such) will continue to escalate. It may just be my knowledge, but from what I understand an increase in prostitution (whatever age) is detrimental to society. Socially, economically, and by ways of government. If I knew of other ways to curb the increase of prostitution, I would offer my thoughts. Sadly the only thing I can say about is those with higher learning and education generally avoid such behavior. But it is not such a clear cut problem/solution as that.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think you people are missing the point of “Age of Consent”.
          I’m not really sure what the Japanese law books say about it, but in most of Europe (and I presume the US/Canada), “Age of Consent” means the age at which a child becomes legally liable for their actions. The law does not give them super privileges to do whatever they want and get away with it. It simply guarantees them a legal shield against crimes they commit without fully understanding the consequences of their actions.

          Children can still be sued if the judge believes they should – it’s their defender’s job to question to what extent can the law be applied in this case. The truth is that such cases rarely result in anything near max penalty for the underage individual – it’s mostly probation and community service. It’s like getting spanked by society, without anyone being sued of sexual harassment.

        • Of course you wouldn’t be able to punish them for having sex in general (which would make no sense anyway), but since you acknowledged that they know what they are doing you can punish them for prostituting themselves without being a hypocrite.

          All valid points you mentioned there, but since the age of consent says that they don’t know what they are doing, you can only punish the one who paid for the service. I don’t claim that this makes sense (in fact it doesn’t), but that’s what the laws say if you apply logic to them. After all, who can tell if the school girl wasn’t persuaded into prostituting herself somehow? That’s specifically what the age of consent was invented for, as you said.

      • Age of Consent is a point where the Socity as deced that some one is capable of understanding there acctions now individualy people are diffrent as for keep them inocent.. this is totaly BS both partys are at fault REGARDLESS of any other Law above or Below them. The Child Broke a law and gets off Free why is that considerd right? Comunity service there asses or even slap a Big Fine on em make them NOT repaet this Make them Lern from there mistakes not walk of scot free singing free bird

        • Since they cannot consent to a sexual act, every sexual encounter involving a minor is technically rape / violation of child welfare laws. It doesn’t matter if the minor was the one who initiated it, since they can’t give their consent they are the ones being raped. After all, the age of consent was established as a means to protect children from being coerced into doing things they cannot yet decide on their own. No matter if the minor was the active part, from a law maker’s viewpoint, you would punish them for being raep’d. Yes, that’s a pretty fucked up logic, but the age of consent is a flawed principle to begin with.

          I didn’t mean to say children should be exempt from punishment if they commit a crime. I was just pointing out that if you apply the idea of age of consent consistently and consequently, you can’t punish minors for having sex, paid or otherwise.

          That said, it’s a victimless crime and therefore should not actually be punished to being with.

  • Anonymous says:

    If you ask me, the law looks like it gives a bit too much power. They can on-demand ask for any records without subpoena (if they even have such a thing or similar thing in Japan) is kinda scary.

    Sites can register, but I don’t think the law will help much as people can continue to lie about age and the sort. Since the article mentions stuff about documents with age or credit card (which apparently most in japan don’t have) will be a huge inconvenience for both site users and the operators.

    • Zelgadis4tw says:

      The only thing I see good about this is that they are now treating “underage victims” just as libel for their actions as the adults. All in all I don’t approve, as what it does sound like is that it’s a very poorly conceived implementation of something that for the most part shouldn’t be implemented in the first place.

      The tools are almost never inherently evil. The website is a tool. People however…are inherently evil, it’s always been this way, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Of course, “evil” is also a slippery concept of it’s own, but that’s for another day.

      • From a purely logical perspective it’s questionable to punish the “underage victims” as hard as the “adult offenders”. When it comes to sex you don’t acknowledge their ability to make decisions for themselves, but at the same time you dish out the same punishments? Makes no sense.

        • Zelgadis4tw says:

          Not sure how I said I don’t acknowledge their ability to make decisions themselves, as my intent (although I now see that it is vague wording) was intended to mean that the issuing of permits to sites whom can’t possibly know everything that goes on in their profiles etc.

          Ok sure, force everyone to verify their age with official documents/credit cards. Now verify for me that these are not stolen identities or outright forgeries. Having said that, there did need to be something like this to happen to keep kids out of the adult people’s sandbox.

          The point is things like this always make it hard for the little man that wants to do right and usually just a little “meh” in the way of those whom set out to do wrong at the start.

          I suppose it is illogical to treat children the same as adults, however being in the unique situation I was in during childhood, I’ve almost always been around very mature people. Therefore I need stories like what color most of Sankaku Complex to remind me that people aren’t as mature as what I grew up with.