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Child Exploitation
03/06/2014

Owner of web hosting service for Japanese child pornography receives 20-year prison term

SAN FRANCISCO — A Japanese national was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution for his role in aiding and abetting the advertisement of child pornography for sale, following a two-year probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Kimihiko Makino, 40, pleaded guilty in June 2013 to advertising child pornography. According to the plea agreement, Makino admitted operating servers in San Francisco for a Japanese website known as "Daio," which advertised the sale of DVDs containing child pornography. Makino admitted that through his maintenance of Daio's servers, he knowingly caused the advertisements to be published. The website contained tens of thousands of visual depictions of children, primarily under age 8, being victimized and forced to engage in sexually explicit and often sadomasochistic conduct.

Makino was indicted in July 2012 for advertising child pornography and possessing child pornography. He was arrested while visiting the U.S. from Japan to perform maintenance on Daio's servers. In the related Japanese investigation, Japanese authorities have indicted and convicted 10 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 U.S. Attorney Melinda 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 Clark Settles, special agent in charge of HSI San Francisco. "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 on and sexually exploit children. 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 U.S. District 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 & Exploited Children, and forfeiture. The defendant has been in custody since his arrest.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hartley M. K. West is prosecuting the case aided by Rosario Calderon. HSI San Francisco received crucial assistance with the investigation from the National Police Agency of Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and HSI Tokyo.