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Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Report of the Study Group for the Advancement of the Condition for the Use of Telecommunications, Flow of Information on the Internet (Dec. 1996).
The report was based on the premise that existing criminal and civil laws and regulations apply to the flow of information on the Internet. It noted that from the viewpoint of protecting freedom of expression, any new legal restrictions would have to be considered very carefully.
The report claimed that most Internet users are "not restrained by any professional moral code. Also, because anonymous information can be easily transmitted, the circulation of malicious or defamatory material is facilitated, potentially worldwide." The report also called for the "establishment of a mechanism which can block transmission of specific content as an effective method of ensuring the receiver's freedom of choice."
The report recommended that, for the time being, the only action to be taken should be: (1) the formation of guidelines by Internet service providers; and (2) the rating of illegal and harmful information, and promotion of the development of filtering systems which block information with certain ratings.