Monday, December 29, 2008


The recent arrest of an elementary school vice principal in Hokkaido on child porn charges has highlighted the tragedy of children being used for pornography and prostitution in Japan. When police raided the vice principal's home, they found many obscene images of underage girls. He was even selling them online. I shudder to think of how many cases like this have gone unreported.
Pedophilia is rampant, not only in Japan but all over the world. It has been receiving serious attention from people in Western countries for at least two decades now. I can only hope that Japanese parents and educators finally stand up and fight this social disease. But I doubt it. Not only is child pornography apparently accepted here, but pornographic magazines and comics are in stores where even children can easily see them. Even vending machines sell X-rated stuff on the street.
The other day in a park near my home, I was shocked to see two grade-school boys reading weird magazines that contained pornographic photographs and drawings. "How can this be possible?" I thought. Then I remembered I was in Japan; a country where pornographic goods are even given away as prizes in some video game arcades.
The blind acceptance of child pornography and prostitution in Japan allows pedophilia to thrive. We, as parents and educators, must do something to stop pedophilia now. We must not allow another innocent child to become the victim of predators.
A pedophile doesn't have certain looks that distinguish him or her as such. The person could be married with children of his or her own. He or she could be a next-door neighbor, a family friend, a relative, a tutor, a coach or a teacher. Pedophiles tend to choose occupations that put them in close contact with children, such as teaching, counseling, day care, scouting, coaching, etc.
I am certainly not saying that all people in these professions are pedophiles, because the overwhelming majority are not. I am just saying we have to be aware of whom our children are spending their time with. Also, we must not allow the Internet to become an electronic babysitter for us. We must always pay attention when our children are online, monitor what they are doing and who they are talking to.
We adults in Japan must realize that the environment in which we live is also the one in which our children grow up, and together we must share the problems facing youngsters. We must get pornographic vending machines off the streets, pornography out of children's comics and video game arcades, and fight to have child pornography completely banned.
By Joel Assogba [Shukan ST: Feb. 15, 2008 (Published in Japan Times ST)]

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