The United Nations has recently proposed a protocol titled "The Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Prostitution, and Child Pornography to a Convention on the Rights of a Child". While most nations were on board with the protocol, the United States, Japan, and Austria had reservations with the proposed commitment. While the countries agreed with several points brought up in the write-up, each had their own reasoning for their nation's opposition.
The United States specifically agreed with most of the terminology in the proposal, such as the protection of children in general, whether it be their physical safety or the barring of child pornography, but stated that the First Amendment allowed for certain depictions with regard to "non-existent children". The terminology exactly is below from the US:
"In the United States, federal law states that it is illegal to create, own, or distribute a visual representation of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture or painting depicting a minor involved in sexually explicit conduct that is obscene. However, visual representations (CGI, anime, etc.) where there is no "real" child are typically protected by the First Amendment (unless visual representations are obscene) and by US obligations under the ICCPR. We urge you to edit the paragraph as follows: "... urges States parties to prohibit by law, in accordance with their national legal systems, child sexual abuse material in any form .... including when this material represents realistic depictions of non-existent children."
(Photo: Clover Works)
Japan decided to take a more scholarly approach to the situation, giving the following statement:
"Japan believes that the restriction on freedom of expression should be kept to a minimum and that a highly careful consideration needs to be given to the scope of child pornography. Considering that pornography is traditionally called visually recognizable objects, whether through audio representations or written materials, it must be carefully considered. Japan therefore proposes to exclude "audio representations" and "written or printed materials" from the third sentence of paragraph 61. "Furthermore, for the reasons explained above, whether criminal penalties should be imposed, even if the case involves pornography of a non-existent child, it needs to be carefully considered. Japan proposes to add "to the extent that it represents an existing child" at the end of paragraph 61. [...] "
Austria, in turn, specifically stated that "non-existent" children were not "real children" and thus could not be considered child pornography. These three nations were the only countries to specifically take umbrage with the proposal, stating specifically how their laws or view points swayed their decisions.
It's a very complicated subject and the aforementioned proposal submitted by the United Nations would specifically ban "any sexualization of minors" in entertainment, real or otherwise. While the proposal itself would simply be a "commitment", we'll keep you posted here at Comicbook.com on any new developments when it comes to the medium of anime.