Lowered age of adulthood makes supporting forced porn victims more difficult

Japan Times -- Apr 05

The lowering of the legal age of adulthood in Japan on Friday has sparked concerns that it may be more difficult to support women under 20 who have been coerced into appearing in pornographic videos.

Last year, nonprofit group Paps held 81 consultations about forced appearances in porn, with 20 of them involving people under the age of 20, the former age of adulthood in the country.

Lawyer Kazuko Ito, secretary general of nongovernmental organization Human Rights Now, warned that porn talent agencies may be scouting people in junior high and high schools to make them debut as porn actors as soon as they turn 18.

Victims are often solicited by talent agencies to become television personalities or models, and forced to sign delegation contracts, according to the international human rights group. In many cases, victims realize that they will be in a porn video only after being sent to a shooting location, and are told that they will have to pay a penalty if they refuse the work.

They could be forced to give up their portrait rights under contracts with video production firms. Videos, if released on the internet, could stay online virtually forever.

Previously, the sales of videos featuring 18-and 19-year-olds could be halted by exercising the right to annul contracts signed by minors without the guardians consent.

But the revised Civil Code, which sets the new age of adulthood at 18, prevents such victims from cancelling their contracts through this route. ...continue reading