The generation of men who have come of age in Japan’s twenty-first century society have grown up enveloped in a world of pornography.

They are the first generation to have grown up as teenagers with easy and individually-tailored access to hardcore and child pornography in the form of manga comic books and the first to benefit from technological innovations that allowed them to easily shift their consumption to DVDs and internet porn made using real women and children.

Japan is certainly not unique in the world in terms of the size and scale of its sex industry, nor is it the only state currently exercising weak administrative oversight of prostitution and pornography. Nonetheless, even compared to other rich, industrialised nations, the Japanese government takes a notably laissez-faire approach.

The possession of child pornography is still legally permitted. There is almost no restriction on the acts that can be filmed in pornography and this has led to the production and open circulation (e.g., through Amazon Japan and Rakuten) of pornography featuring extreme levels of violence against women, including films in which women are set on fire. Japan is also the only rich country to be awarded ‘Tier 2’ status in the US Department of State’s yearly Trafficking in Persons Report and one of only a handful of countries that have not yet ratified the United Nation’s anti-trafficking Palermo Protocol.

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