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Japan: New Revenge Porn Prevention Act

(Nov. 26, 2014) The Diet (Japan’s parliament) recently enacted the Revenge Porn Prevention Act. (Shiji seiteki gazou kiroku no teikyou tou ni yoru higai no boushi ni kansuru houritsu [Act on Prevention of Damage by Provision of Private Sexual Image Records], text of the bill that became an act without amendment posted on the House of Representatives website (last visited Nov. 25, 2014).)

Since last year, the government and lawmakers have been considering new legislation to tackle the revenge porn issue. (Sayuri Umeda, Japan: Government Discusses How to Deal with “Revenge Porn,” GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Nov. 20, 2013).) Because there was no law covering revenge porn, criminal provisions such as defamation and the propagation of obscene material have been used to punish revenge porn aggressors. (Id.) For the teenage girl victims who comprise the vast majority of the victims, “the police used the child pornography prevention law to arrest suspects in 318 cases in 2013.” (Aya Shioiri et al, Japan Looks to Criminalize ‘Revenge Porn’ as Teen Victims Increase, ASAHI NEWSPAPER (May 7, 2014).)

The new Act criminalizes the provision of a private sexual image of another person without the person’s approval via a means of telecommunication to an unspecified number of or to many people. (Revenge Porn Prevention Act, art. 3.) The maximum punishment upon conviction for the offense is three years of imprisonment. (Id.)

The Act allows Internet service providers to delete suspected revenge porn images without the uploader’s consent, in cases where:

1. the victim had notified the provider of the existence of the image;
2. the provider had requested the consent of the uploader to delete the image; and
3. the uploader did not respond or delete the image. (Id. art. 4.)

The Act also obligates the national and local governments to ease victims’ embarrassment when they report the crime. (Id. art. 5.) For especially young potential victims, the Act further obligates the governments to educate people on how to avoid revenge porn. (Id. art. 6.)