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Japanese Leader Seeks Censorship Of Videos Says Porn Tapes May Have Influenced Beheading Suspect

Wed., July 2, 1997

A Japanese minister called Tuesday for restricting violent and pornographic videos because they may have influenced a teenager accused of beheading an 11-year-old boy.

Police arrested the 14-year-old suspect on Saturday after he confessed to killing Jun Hase and leaving his head at the entrance to a junior high school in Kobe on May 27.

A search of the suspect’s bedroom turned up thousands of pornographic videos and comic books.

Construction Minister Shizuka Kamei called for restricting access to pornography.

“Movies lacking any literary or educational merit made for just showing cruel scenes can easily be watched by adolescent children. Adults should be blamed for this,” Kamei told reporters.

But Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiroku Kajiyama said it would be difficult to impose restrictions without consensus and it was unlikely they would prevent grisly crimes.

Under Japanese law, the suspect is too young to go to jail. Juveniles can be held responsible for a crime, but they must be at least 16 to be sentenced as criminals. If he is found guilty, the court will choose between probation and putting the boy in a reformatory.

Kajiyama said Japan’s Juvenile Law should be reviewed.

“Given that (the law) exempts juveniles from criminal punishment for very cruel crimes, it would not work as a deterrent and may even encourage crimes,” he said. “The human rights of assailants are protected while victims have no recourse.”

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