Japan’s cops crack down on app used for sharing child porn

Mitsuaki Ono
Mitsuaki Ono

On November 5, law enforcement, including Kyoto police, announced the arrest of Mitsuaki Ono, the 55-year-old president of Tokyo-based Aircast, for allegedly helping teenagers distribute pornographic content of themselves in exchange for cash.

Ono’s company produced the smartphone application Shashinbukuro (Photo Bag), which allows for the distribution of images and videos. In March of last year, 60 images of nude underage girls were uploaded to the app.

Police are hopeful that the arrest will set an example for an industry that is expanding in scope and may serve as an entry to other crimes, reports evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (Nov. 7).

Shashinbukuro users upload password-protected content to the app. They then post the passwords on Internet chat sites. They also have the option of making the content password-free.

IT journalist Toshiyuki Inoue says that uploading erotic content could serve as a advertisement for prostitution.

“From there, it could lead to a direct enjo kosai transaction,” says Inoue, referring to compensated dating. “It has become an ‘entrance’ to illegal erotic businesses. Shashinbukuro emerged on the scene last year, and now the police cannot ignore it.”

Over the past two years, the app has had eight million downloads and collected 150 million yen in revenue.

According to Nikkan Gendai, approximately 40 percent of the uploads to Shashinbukuro violate child pornography laws.

The bust of Aircast is the first time police have gone after a company. Ono, who has been charged with violating laws prohibiting child prostitution and pornography, denies the allegations, telling police that he knows nothing about it.

Inoue says that there are between 10 and 20 other apps similar to Shashinbukuro.  “I think the arrest of the president (Ono) was an attempt to make an example for others,” he says.

Source: “Miseshime ka jido poruno no onsho apuri shashin-bukuro tekihatsu no butaiura,” Nikkan Gendai (Nov. 7)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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