One can hardly mention child pornography, even as a subject of serious academic research, without receiving questioning, fearful, or even disgusted looks. The creation, dissemination, and possession of child pornography is severely criminalized in many countries, and continues to be a topic of intense controversy in countries that have "lagged" in passing laws condemning the trade (though the word "trade" is misleading, as most child pornography is created, disseminated, and consumed almost entirely free of charge). Yet, there is also a great deal of confusion, misunderstanding, and sheer ignorance surrounding child pornogaphy and its connections (or lack thereof) to lowered levels of child abuse, the sexual exploitation of children, and child sex-trafficking. Many believe the harsh criminalization of the creation, dissemination, and possession of child pornography in all forms is not contradictory to, or is perhaps more important than freedom of speech and expression rights, in order to ensure a safer society for children. Yet, many others claim the opposite: That the freedom of thought and expression is of a higher priority than protecting against sketchy correlations between child pornography and child abuse. The issue of child pornography is becoming increasingly important to approach from a rational, objective, and understanding point of view, as international pressure from both Western nations, and from international organizations (such as the European Union and the United Nations) have strengthened in the last twenty years. Most noticeably, perhaps, is the pressure Japan has been under since the late 1990s. Japan's laws against child pornography were, for a long time, incredibly lax compared to other nations', and even now that it has enacted a certain number of laws, enforcement of the laws remains minimal. Yet, Japan boasts lower rates of chitd abuse and rape than do most Western nations. I argue that for this reason, and for others addressed in this paper, the international pressure (both from individual states and international organrzations such as the United Nations) on Japan to strengthen its domestic censorship and general anti-child pornography laws amounts to an exercise of power based on a moral ryit"* that is clearly relative (what constitutes acceptable pleasures and media consumption) and cultural imperialism.
"Speech We Hate: An Argument for the Cessation of International Pressure on Japan to Strengthen Its Anti-Child Pornography Laws,"
Augsburg Honors Review: Vol. 4
, Article 3.
Available at: https://idun.augsburg.edu/honors_review/vol4/iss1/3