"The First Report of the Working Group on the Illegal and Harmful Use of the Internet"
The results of a systematic review of sites revealed 238 that have appeared between 18 June and 8 November 1997 offering access to girl-related child pornography or erotica. Boy-related sites are greater in number. The most sexually explicit sites are in Russia and Japan; however, it should be noted that the situation is very fluid, with established sites changing addresses, and new sites appearing. There is also a growing use of mirror sites that may disguise site of origin. Most of the pornographic photographs available from Japanese WWW sites are censored through the use of ‘masks’ covering the genital area. However, software is readily available which will remove the mask revealing the uncensored photograph.
The Internet Watch Foundation’s first annual report was released in March 1998. In the first year the IWF received 781 complaints about 4,300 items on the Internet, resulting in the removal of 2,000 images from UK servers. Ninety-five percent of those images were of child sexual abuse (child pornography). IWF monitors 40 Usenet newsgroups out of the total 27,000 newsgroups on the Internet. The report said that only 6 percent of the child pornography originated from British Internet sites, while 63 percent came from the United States and 19 percent came from Japan. Two hundred reports of child pornography on web sites outside the UK were referred to the relevant country’s authorities.
In their second annual report, in February 1999, they reported that in 1998 they received 2,407 reports of illegal or offensive material. They judged 447 of these cases to be potentially illegal material. Of that number, 124 were cases on which they had previously taken action. The number of items referred to in all reported cases was 14,580. Action was taken on 10,548 items; 541 were reported to the Metropolitan Police because the items originated in the UK; 9,176 items were referred to the child pornography unit of the National Criminal Intelligence Service because they were located on servers outside the UK; and 9,498 items were referred to the Internet Service Providers. Of 464 referrals for potentially illegal materials, 430 were child pornography, 22 were adult pornography, and one was a financial scam. Of the 6,214 items on which they took action, 5,665 were found on Usenet newsgroups, 527 on web sites, 4 in chat rooms, 4 in email messages, and 14 were from offline sources. Only approximately 12 percent of the potentially illegal material originated in the UK. Almost one half of the material originated in the United States, 11 percent from Japan, and 14 percent from Europe.
Japanese police say there are about 1,200 commercial child pornography Internet sites in Japan. Some feature photos of children from Japan, others of Southeast Asian children.
Roposensho estimates that about 1200 commercial child pornographic internet sites exist in Japan. And there are no anti-child porn laws in Japan (Anonymous, 1998a).