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Japanese porn star scraps Indonesian film shoot amid pressure from Muslim hard-liners

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A Japanese porn star has cancelled a trip to predominantly Muslim Indonesia to act in a no-nudity comedy after sparking outrage from religious groups, producers said Wednesday.

Maxima Pictures pulled plans to film “Kidnapping Miyabi” in Indonesia and is scouting for an alternative location, said executive producer Yoen K.

Adult film actress Maria Ozawa, popularly known as Miyabi, was scheduled to arrive Wednesday to begin production. The 23-year-old was “sad and disappointed to hear so many people opposed her visit,” he said.

Yoen said discussions were ongoing with religious organizations, but added it was wrong to prevent someone from acting in film, rather than judging the final product.

He said they are looking at other options and still hope to finish the film by the end of the year.

One of the most vocal opponents has been the influential Indonesian Ullema Council, a board of Muslim clerics, which has consistently opposed Ozawa’s visit over fears it will damage the country’s image.

“Come or not, we continue to reject her,” said Ma’ruf Amin, a prominent member of the council, known by its Indonesian acronym MUI. “We will continue to reject her even if she will not be nude.”

The cancellation comes weeks after Indonesia’s parliament passed a law ordering filmmakers to uphold “religious, ethical, moral, and national cultural values.” Movie makers are concerned a new censorship body outlined in the law will bring back the days of extreme censorship under the Suharto dictatorship, which was toppled more than a decade ago.

Even though Indonesia is a secular democracy with widespread freedom of speech, films are still edited and banned if they are deemed by the government to be too political or sexually explicit. Pornography is illegal.

Indonesia’s population of 235 million is largely socially conservative, but not everyone agreed with the clerics that keeping out porn stars is a good thing.

Around a dozen Muslim students staged a rally in the capital of South Sulawesi, Makassar, on Wednesday, saying Ozawa’s human rights were being violated.

“As long as she will not appear in any porn action, there is no reason to ban her visit to Indonesia,” said Ubaidi, a protester at the Indonesian Muslim University campus.

“Everyone has the right to come and earn a living in Indonesia,” he said. “Just take care of your own morals, don’t intervene in Miyabi’s business.”

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