Owner of Web Hosting Service for Japanese Child Pornography Distribution Website Sentenced to 20 Years

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SAN FRANCISCO – Kimihiko Makino was sentenced on March 6 to 20 years in prison, and ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution for aiding and abetting the advertising of child pornography for sale, announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Clark E. Settles.

Makino, 40, a Japanese national, pleaded guilty on June 24, 2013 to advertising child pornography. According to the plea agreement, Makino admitted to operating servers, located in San Francisco, for a Japanese website known as “Daio,” which advertised the sale of DVDs containing child pornography.

Through his maintenance of Daio’s servers, Makino admitted, he knowingly caused the advertisements to be published. The website contained tens of thousands of visual depictions of children, primarily under the age of eight, being victimized and coerced and forced to engage in sexually explicit and often sado-masochistic conduct.

Makino was indicted on July 12, 2012, for advertising child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2251(d)(1)(A), and possessing child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B). He was arrested while visiting the U.S. from Japan for the purpose of maintaining Daio’s servers. In the related Japanese investigation, Japanese authorities have indicted and convicted ten others associated with “Daio.”

“This country will not tolerate the abuse of children through the production of child pornography, which permanently harms the physiological, emotional, and mental health of children,” said Haag. “One of the best means of attacking the market for material from this often clandestine industry is to impose severe criminal penalties on individuals who advertise or sell it. This sentence plainly demonstrates that those who engage in the advertisement and distribution of child pornography in the United States deserve to be, and will be, punished severely.”

“Those who trade child pornography over the Internet are a part of a disturbing cycle of violence against children, and, as this case makes clear, face serious consequences” said Settles. “The reality is, every time a photo or a video of an innocent child being sexually exploited is viewed, that victim is violated again. HSI will continue to aggressively target those who prey upon and sexually exploit our children in the United States and throughout the world. We owe it to youngsters, who will carry the emotional and physical scars of these crimes with them for the rest of their lives.”

The sentence imposed by the U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White also included a five-year term of supervised release, restitution of $10,000 to be paid to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and forfeiture. The defendant has been in custody since his arrest.

Hartley M. K. West is the assistant U.S. attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rosario Calderon. The prosecution is the result of a two-year investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Resident Agent in Charge, San Francisco International Airport. Critical assistance in this investigation was provided by the National Police Agency of Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and HSI Tokyo.

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