Japan: Coerced filming of Adult Pornographic videos/Human Rights Violations against Women and Girls Manifesting from the Adult Pornographic Film Industry in Japan

Japan: Coerced filming of Adult Pornographic videos

Human Rights Violations against Women and Girls Manifesting from the Adult Pornographic Film Industry in Japan

Human Rights Now (HRN), a Tokyo-based international human rights NGO released a report “Human Rights Violations against Women and Girls Manifested from the Adult Pornographic Film Industry in Japan” on March 3, 2016.

Here is the tentative translation of the report in English.
ReportonAVindustry 20160303 (tentative translation) [PDF]

*Please note that the original report is in Japanese, and while this English translation has been prepared in good faith, we do not accept responsibility for the accuracy of the translations.  Reference should be made to the original Japanese language texts.


For the original report in Japanese, please visit our Japanese website at http://hrn.or.jp/news/6600/.

You can also download the Japanese report here: AV産業報告書20160303 [PDF]


Summary of the Report

●There have been a number of cases in which Japanese women were coerced to appear in adult pornographic videos.

It has been frequently reported that many young women who were scouted and had agreed to work as a “talent” or “model” in the entertainment industry were forced to appear in pornographic videos.

Human Rights Now, an international human rights NGO based in Japan, conducted an investigation into the damage caused by the use of force and coercion in pornographic videos by interviewing both victim-support groups and the victims themselves.

Our investigation revealed that there have been a number of cases in which young women, who never intended to appear in pornographic videos, were forced participate in the industry after signing contracts with their production companies. These companies would threaten them with remarks such as “you can’t refuse the work since it’s required under contract,” “if you refuse the work, you have to pay penalty charges for defaults,” or “we’ll inform your parents about your work (if you don’t take the job).”

It is a grave human rights violation to take advantage of young women who are uninformed (of the responsibilities and risks entailed in their contracts) and/or in financial difficulties, to coerce them into performing unconsented sexual acts in public display (in front of the filming crew) and to later circulate these pornographic videos on the internet. Furthermore, it is common practice in the pornographic film industry to portray young women experiencing hostility and violence, such as assigning them roles similar to slavery or “debt bondage” accompanied by threats of penalties for refusal.


No relevant legal provisions or regulatory agency exist to regulate the pornographic film industry.

No relevant regulatory agency exists to regulate production companies and persons involved in the making of pornographic videos. Further, provisions from the “Act on Control and Improvement of Amusement Business, etc.” do not apply to such activities, thus unlawful practices are unrestrained and victims are unable to seek protection or remedy.

While there are some seemingly relevant laws for protection, unlawful practices in the pornographic film industry often slip through the legal net. For example, the “Act on Punishment of Activities Relating to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and the Protection of Children”, only applies to persons under 18 years old. Also, in many cases, pornographic videos do not fall under “indecent acts” under the Criminal Code.

Additionally, even though many women have been forced to have brutal sexual intercourse which resulted in injuries consequential upon physical abuses conducted during the filming of pornographic videos, cases are rarely brought against production companies, their producers or other relevant parties for rape, compulsion, injury or battery because they had “performed” in the film with  “consent.” The Anti-Prostitution Law is also not applicable because the women were “performing” in the film.

As appearance in pornographic videos falls under work which is “harmful to public health or morals” under the Employment Security Act and Worker Dispatch Act, a production company’s recruitment of pornographic actresses and its subsequent dispatch of such actresses to film producers are subject to punishment under the Employment Security Act and the Worker Dispatch Act, respectively.

However, many production companies circumvent the laws by signing service contracts rather than employment agreements with the women and by pretending that the production does not instruct the women directly.

Moreover, human rights violations of pornographic videos are not within the scope of protection under general consumer protections laws, the Consumer Contract Act, or the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions and the Consumer Safety Act. Therefore, as it stands there is no prospect for implementation of protective and preventative measures such as regulation on inappropriate solicitation, consultation and settlement through consumer centers, or issuance of strong administrative measures such as suspension of businesses.


●Desirable legislation

To improve this situation, Human Rights Now calls for legislative measures to both resolve the problem and request the Government and the Diet to take necessary steps as soon as possible. Though we make detailed recommendations at the end of this report, we especially request for relevant parties to seriously consider the following measures:

1.Immediate Relief Plan

To propose an amendment to the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions which expands its application to include damages related to women appearing in adult pornographic videos by adding the use of a continuous service contract in which the employee is the service provider to one of the transactions protected under the Act.

To expand the application of the Consumer Safety Act to include the pornographic video problems previously discussed into the definition of the term “Instances of Harm from Circumstances That Are Financially Damaging to a Great Number of Consumers ” in order to request the relevant Minister to take necessary measures when required.


2.To the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare

To issue, disseminate and raise awareness regarding a notice establishing the standard that contracts regarding appearances in pornographic videos shall be treated as employment agreements if the relationship between the production company and the women involved is in reality an employer-employee relationship, regardless of the form of the contract between them.

To take measures in supervising and penalizing production companies if necessary.

3.To the Cabinet Office

To conduct fact-finding investigations and propose necessary measures and legislation at the Gender Equality Bureau Cabinet Office and the Consumer Commission based on the core problem that pornographic videos constitute serious violence against women.

4.To the Police and Prosecutor

To actively investigate and prosecute violations of the Employment Security Act and the Worker Dispatch Act if the actresses appearing in these pornographic films are in reality treated as employees of the production company.

To actively pursue cases in court, investigate and prosecute producers or those responsible where women have been coerced into appearing in pornographic videos against their will.

5.To the Consumer Affairs Agency

To examine and prepare a necessary reform bill in order to protect the victims of unconsented appearances in pornographic videos as consumer damage under relevant laws.

6.To a Members of the Diet 

To enact comprehensive relief legislation.


●Responsibility of relevant enterprises

All the enterprises which deal with the production, manufacture and distribution of pornographic videos shall face the fact that the pornographic industry is prone to violate human rights in the production process and take the following measures:

1.To immediately stop coercing women to appear in pornographic videos against their will and halt all filming of pornographic videos that violate their human rights by adversely affecting the women’s mental and physical safety and health.

2.To establish a policy relating to human rights, to exercise due diligence in supervising the supply chain in order to avoid human rights violations and to undertake drastic reform base on the current situation.

Download the full report