Let me just say this first. I know nothing of the political culture in Japan. Being that I am an avid Anime and Manga fan I figured I would say something. I just learned of this issue a few weeks ago and it startled me. It is the Tokyo Government proposing to amend The Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. The proposed amendment would limit and/ or restrict the sale of Anime, Manga, and Video Games deemed unhealthy by the Tokyo Government. Even though this is not a nationwide law, it might as well be because it’s affects will be felt nationwide. It will definitely be felt in Tokyo if it goes into effect.
Bill 156 just passed the General Affairs Committee and is headed to an Open Assembly Vote on Wednesday. By what I have learned it seems that the amendment would do more harm than good to anyone. It is definitely going to harm the industries that it is targeted towards. What the Tokyo Government is trying to do is impose real life criminal law on fictionalized event. That is akin to having real life physics in a cartoon or video games. It would ruin all that is fun and entertaining about it. As I see it The Tokyo Government is trying to limit creative expression and free speech. It all seems like they want to ruin their economy as well. The reason I say this is because of events like TAF ans Comiket. As has already been seen if the Amendment passes TAF will lose a good portion if its exhibits. But it also ruins people trying to sell fan Manga as well.
As I have learned from several sources the amendment is worded very vaguely and ambiguously which means that a lot of what it says is up for interpretation. Lines like “Likely to interfere with the healthy development of Youth”. I wonder how they will define ‘healthy’ in this case. It would seem that the definition of the word is left up to the discretion of a government employee. One thing I don’t get is that it leaves real-life photography unscathed. The leave the one thing that could be subject to criminal persecution untouched, but go for the fictionalized events. This just seems wrong to me.
Like I said before this is the Tokyo Government trying to limit creative and artistic expression as well as free speech. I also believe that the government has no right to regulate stuff like this. Since the amendment involves what they are calling youth it should be up to the parents to regulate what their kids do. But this is coming from my individualist perspective on things. This is taking away the right for the parent to choose what is good for their children.
All I can hope is that in The Open Assembly it is voted down. I hope that not all Japanese politicians in the Tokyo Assembly are this stupid. I hope they don’t restrict a medium of expression that is popular inside as well as outside of their country.