A survey asking whether Japanese thought a ban on “simple possession” of pornography featuring underage participants is necessary found only 1.6% of respondents thought so, with most condemning it as an excessively radical measure which endangers freedom of expression.
The survey was conducted online by Hokkaido news site Hokkaido 365, and received 2,798 responses over a week.
Of these responses, 2,697 (98.4%) answered “no” to the question “Do you think the criminalisation of ‘simple possession’ is necessary?” A mere 45 answered “yes”.
Of those who answered “no”, the most common reason given was that the law “tramples freedom of speech and is excessive,” with 1,655 votes. 299 expressed concern that they could face issues if someone sent them the images, and 169 thought only commercially acquired material should be restricted.
556 specified “other” reasons for opposing the ban, with many stating they were concerned the restrictions would be used to restrict entirely imaginary depictions in anime and similar; others compared the law to a modern day witch hunt or Prohibition, or were concerned that restrictions themselves increase sex crime.
It should be noted that these opinions relate only to the current measures being placed before the Diet – production of and commercial trafficking in such material is already subject to strict restriction.
Whatever the results of the survey itself (as with any statistics these can be critiqued in a number of ways, particularly in that they are not gathered from a controlled sample), it is clear that spontaneous public outcry over the issue is all but non-existent in Japan, and doubtless there are much greater concerns on the minds of most Japanese.
It seems the interests of politicians and minority groups, both domestic and international, rather than any popular support are the reasons behind this legislation…