On Sept 7, office worker Tokuni Kishida was arrested on charges of distributing obscene material over the internet. According to Gunma police, last December Kishida was suspected of posting three URLs on his website which linked to “obscene” videos hosted in other countries.
The term “obscene” used by the police and in reports is very vague, but we can assume this means adult videos without the mosaic squares covering the genitalia as is required by Japanese law. One reason is that if it were something more nefarious, the police likely would have mentioned it to add weight to their arrest. Furthermore, there seemed to be an emphasis on the videos being shown on an “overseas” website, where such pixellated censorship is scoffed at.
The final reason is Kishida’s alleged motive: according to police, he said he posted the links because he wanted his “website to stand out and get more page views.” If he was aiming for mass appeal, it stands to reason he would be guiding people towards more standard fares of eroticism.
Readers of the news were also wondering what Kishida was up to, and if one can really get arrested just for posting links to content that one doesn’t personally have possession of.
“All he did was paste a URL?”
“The internet is a scary place.”
“Our laws need some reviewing.”
“Who is the victim in this?”
“So he wanted to ‘stand out?’ That’s a good way to get arrested alright.”
“This isn’t really ‘displaying’ it. There’s a world of difference between making an adult website and posting some links, and sticking a pornographic image on a bulletin board of a post office.
“Google does the same thing, why don’t the Gunma police arrest them too?”
“All this guy needs is a decent lawyer and he can get off these charges.”
As the last two comments mention, the suspect’s crime seems to lie in a very sketchy area of the law. As is often brought up in debates over file sharing of copyrighted material – which Japan also notoriously takes a hardline stance against – does simply pointing toward illicit content constitute a crime in itself?
That’ll be up to the court when Kishida has his day in it.
Sources: Nikkan Sports, My Game News Flash
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