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Pornography, Rape, and Sex Crimes in Japan

NCJ Number
179581
Journal
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry Volume: 22 Issue: 1 Dated: 1999 Pages: 1-22
Author(s)
Milton Diamond; Ayako Uchiyama
Date Published
1999
Length
22 pages
Annotation
The relationship between pornography's increasing availability in Japan and the incidence of rape, sexual assault, and public indecency was examined using data collected during 1972-95.
Abstract
The research examined the incidence of murder and nonsexual violent crimes for comparison and as control measures. Data included official statistics on reported sex crimes and qualitative and quantitative data on the amount of pornographic materials available. The number and availability of sexually explicit materials increased in Japan over the years 1972-95. At the same time, the incidence of rape declined from 4,677 cases with 5,464 offenders in 1972 to 1,500 cases with 1,160 offenders in 1995. The number of rapes committed by juveniles also markedly decreased. The incidence of sexual assault declined from 3,139 cases in 1972 to fewer than 3,000 cases for each year during 1975-90. The incidence of reported public indecencies decreased by about one-third. Marked declines also occurred in the numbers of murders and nonsexual violent physical assaults. Murders dropped by some 40 percent; nonsexual physical assaults decreased by about 60 percent. Findings were similar to those in Denmark, Sweden, and West Germany. Findings were also consistent with what is known about property crime rates in Japan. Nevertheless, the myth persists that an abundance of sexually explicit material invariably leads to an abundance of sexual activity and eventually rape. A variety of societal factors may relate to the decrease in sex offenses. Nevertheless, the data make clear that a massive increase in available pornography in Japan has been correlated with a marked decrease in sex offenses, particularly among juveniles as perpetrators or victims. Tables and 101 references