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Kutchinsky (1983, 1987, 1992, 1994), has discussed the relative merits of lab studies compared to events outside the laboratory. Basically Kutchinsky believes that pornography, in the real world, offers a substitution for the sexual and nonsexual frustrations that might, in other circumstances, lead to sexual offenses (Kutchinsky, 1973a, p175 ff.). "If availability of pornography can reduce sex crimes, it is because the use of certain forms of pornography to certain potential offenders is functionally equivalent to the commission of certain types of sex offenses: both satisfy the need. . . If these potential offenders have the option, they prefer to use pornography because it is more convenient, unharmful and undangerous." (pp. 21). This too we believe is only a partial answer.
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Presently in Japan, sexually explicit video tapes, books, and magazines which cater to all sorts of erotic interests and fetishes are readily available. These include sexually obvious manga without age restrictions as to availability. Phone booths in commercial areas and city newspapers contain advertisements for sexual liaisons of every sort. However, this availability of modern pornography is relatively new. Essentially since the end of World War II with the imposition of American military rules, which lasted until 1951, there was prohibition of any sexually explicit material. This continued under the Japanese government into the late 1980s; images or depictions of frontal nudity were banned as were pictures of pubic hair or genitals. No sex act could be depicted graphically.
Similar to our findings, in Denmark and West Germany the most dramatic categories of sex crime to show a decrease were rapes and other sex crimes against and by juveniles. Between 1972 and 1980 the total number of sex crimes known to the police in the Federal Republic of Germany decreased by 11 percent; during the same period the total number of all crimes reported increased by 50 percent. Sex offenses against minors (those under 14 years of age) had a similarly slight decrease of about 10 percent during this period. For those victims under six years of age, however, the numbers decreased from 1,421 cases in 1972 to 579 in 1980, a decrease of more than 50 percent (Kutchinsky, 1985b; pp. 319).
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Among those European/Scandinavian societies investigated for any relation between the availability of pornography and rape or sexual assault, again no such correlation could be demonstrated (Kutchinsky, 1985a, 1991). For the countries of Denmark, West Germany and Sweden, the three nations for which ample data were available at the time, Kutchinsky showed that as the amount of pornography increasingly became available, the rate of rapes in these countries either decreased or remained relatively level. According to Kutchinsky, only in the United States did it appear that, in the 1970s and early 1980s as the amount of available pornography increased, did some increase in rape occur (Kutchinsky, 1985a, 1991). But Kutchinsky also noted a change in how rape was recorded which could account for the apparent increase in the American sex crime rate.
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In Britain, the privately constituted Longford Committee (Amis, Anderson, Beasley-Murray, et al., 1972) reviewed the pornography situation in that nation and concluded that such material was detrimental to public morals. It too dismissed the scientific evidence in favor of protecting the "public good" against forces that might "denigrate(e) and devalue(e) human persons." The officially constituted British (Williams) Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship, however, in 1979 analyzed the situation and reported (Home Office, 1979): "From everything we know of social attitudes, and have learnt in the course of our enquires, our belief can only be that the role of pornography in influencing the state of society is a minor one. To think anything else . . . is to get the problem of pornography out of proportion (p. 95)." A review report by McKay and Dolff (1984) for the Department of Justice of Canada essentially says similarly: "There is no systematic research evidence available which suggests a causal relationship between pornography and the morality of Canadian society . . . [and none] which suggests that increases in specific forms of deviant behavior, reflected in crime trend statistics (e.g., rape) are causally related to pornography." In Canada, the Fraser Committee in 1985, after a review of the topic concluded the evidence so poorly organized that no consistent body of evidence could be found to condemn pornography (Canada, 1985, pp. 99).
Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan
The question of how or even if pornography is linked to rape or other sex crimes has been with different societies for many years. In the United States, it was shown that, as far as could be determined by a Commission appointed by U. S. President Lyndon B. Johnson (Pornography, 1970), no such relationship of pornography leading to rape or sexual assault could be demonstrated as applicable for adults or juveniles. Following the idea of the 1970 President's Commission, in 1986 the findings of the United States' Attorney General's Commission were released (Meese, 1986). Appointed in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, this commission found, in contrast with the previous Presidential Commission, that: "substantial exposure to sexually violent materials . . . bears a causal relationship to antisocial acts of sexual violence." In distinction to the Presidential Commission, however, this Attorney General's Commission was politically, not scientifically, constituted. This Meese Commission was primarily composed of nonscientists who did no research of their own and commissioned none. It solicited testimony mainly from specific parties and organizations which it anticipated would be sympathetic to its goals while ignoring testimony from those it suspected would be disagreeable (Lynn, 1986; Nobile & Nadler, 1986; Lab, 1987). The Meese Commission's own minority report, by two of the only three women on the panel, --one of whom had a great deal of experience in sex research-- dissented from the majority report in saying the findings were not in keeping with the amassed social science data (Meese, 1986). Subsequent nation-wide studies in the United States also seemed to find no strong evidence that rape rates were associated with the availability of pornographic magazines (Baron and Straus, 1987) or adult theaters in a community (Scott and Schwalm, 1988; Winick & Evans, 1996).