Before I address the gender issue that I feel compelled to write about, I’d like to first say a few things about my experience with the WomanStats Project. I am a new coder to project and while I may have a lack of experience I most certainly do not lack in passion. I have had an interest in gender studies for a while now and when I was given the opportunity to join the team I was so excited. I have learned more about the security of women in the world in the few weeks that I have been working for the project than I did in any of my undergraduate or graduate classes thus far. I feel as if my eyes have been opened to something that greatly saddens me, angers me, and motivates me to educate other about- the treatment and suppression of women around the world.
Now to give meaning to the title of this blog by addressing an issue that has brought me much frustration- the prominence of child pornography in Japan and the way the country has handled the problem, or lack there of. The title of this blog entry “Don’t mow the weeds, PULL them” refers to the way in which I feel the Japanese government has dealt with the problem of child pornography. Everyone knows that if when you mow weeds you have done nothing but make them less obvious, the roots are still grounded and they will grow back in no time. If you want to resolve a weed problem you pull them up and out entirely, roots included. The Japanese government has only mowed the weeds of child pornography solving the problem on the surface. Underneath, the weeds still live by their roots, as child pornography is still disturbingly common.
“Although the distribution of child pornography is illegal, the law does not criminalize the simple possession of child pornography, which often depicts the brutal sexual abuse of small children. The absence of a statutory basis makes it difficult for police to obtain search warrants, preventing them from effectively enforcing existing child pornography laws or participating in international law enforcement efforts in this area. Along with child pornography involving real victims, some law enforcement and pedophilia experts stated that child molesters used cartoons and comics depicting child pornography to seduce children. The role of commonly available sexually explicit comics and anime in the sexual endangerment of children remained controversial, with the NPA stating the link had not been proved.” 
This is paragraph taken from the 2009 Japan Human Rights Report, which can be found on the U.S. State Departments website. I find this to be disturbing and rather unacceptable. Outlawing the distribution of child pornography but not penalizing those who posses it is beyond me. Basically, as long as you don’t get caught buying child pornography you are in the clear- how is this solving the problem. It’s NOT. It only makes the problem less obvious, like mowing the grass makes the weeds less obvious. But the point is that they are still there!
If Japan wants to solve their child pornography problem, they need to pull the weeds not mow them. They need to criminalize the possession of child pornography, establish a basis for statutory rape and outlaw comics that portray children in a pornographic manner-pull the weeds at the root. Without taking these actions the prominence of child pornography is not likely to be mitigated. It blows my mind that owning pornographic films of children is not a crime. In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing justifiable about feeling a sexual satisfaction from child pornography and there is no reason it should remain legal. Some may make the argument that it keeps the sexually-mentally ill from violating children out on the streets. However, my counter to that would be that I agree with the experts documented in the 2009 Human Rights Report who believe the existence of child pornography and pornographic comics of children,
“…could be harmful to children by creating a culture that appears to accept sexual intercourse with children or violence against children. Internet service providers acknowledged that the country was a hub for child pornography, leading to greater victimization of children both domestically and abroad.”
In conclusion, I find Japan’s attempt at solving the problem of child pornography entirely unsatisfactory. I hope that more aggressive actions are taken in the near future to curb this problem because only outlawing the distribution of child pornography is not solving the problem, its making it less obvious on the surface. Again, it’s mowing the weeds.