Child porn cases up 44% in 2010

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Child porn cases up 44% in 2010ECPAT/STOP Japan

BY TORU IGARASHI STAFF WRITER

Japanese police handled a record 1,342 cases of child pornography in 2010, a 44-percent jump over the previous year, the National Police Agency said.

The figure represented an all-time high for the third consecutive year.

About 60 percent of the cases involved the Internet, with such cases posting a ninefold increase over a decade, officials said.

Meantime, child abuse cases handled by police grew 6 percent from 2009 to 354 incidents, the fifth consecutive year of annual increase.

The surges reflect intensifying police action on crimes against children, particularly amid growing international pressure for Japan to act against child pornography.

By type, 624 cases involved production of child pornography, up 42 percent from the previous year; 496 cases involved display of pornographic materials on the Internet, up 59 percent; and 108 cases involved distribution such as sales to specific individuals, up 52 percent.

The cases involved pornographic materials involving children under age 18. A total 618 children under age 18 were victimized in the cases, 53 percent more than in the previous year.

Thirty-three of the victims were preschool children, nearly four times the number of such young children victimized in 2009, while 93 were of elementary school age, an 80 percent increase from the previous year’s count.

The findings suggested younger children were being targeted.

In some cases, the parents were responsible for photographing and distributing images of their own children.

Child abuse at home also rose, with 387 guardians subject to investigation in alleged child abuse cases, up 9 percent from 2009.

The number of abuse cases that resulted in death of the child or children reached 29, or 16 percent up from the previous year.

In seven out of 10 abuse cases, male guardians were the abusers, while 30 percent were female guardians.

While a majority of the female abusers were the biological mother, in the case of male abusers, adoptive fathers, stepfathers, or the mother’s common-law husband outnumbered biological fathers by 40 percent.

Of total abuse cases, 99 were reported to police by family or acquaintances, 79 were reported by child consultation centers and 40 were reported by neighbors, double the number in 2009.

The Asahi Shimbun Digital Feb 26, 2011

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