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Tokyo's '2D Child Porn' Bill Delayed to at Least Fall (Updated)

posted on 2010-04-20 18:47 EDT
Parties disagree on wording; government office posts document explaining bill

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the largest faction in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, met with the parties behind a bill to regulate "two-dimensional child pornography" on Tuesday, but the different sides could not agree on the bill's current draft. As a result, the debate on the new restrictions will continue and a final vote on the issue will be pushed back until the assembly's September regular session at the earliest.

The first draft of the bill would have revised Tokyo's existing ordinance regarding "the healthy development of youths." If passed, it would restrict sexualized depictions of "nonexistent youths" — such as in manga, anime, and other materials — from being sold to minors. The current bill draft defines "nonexistent youths" as characters that appear or sound to be younger than 18 years old. It would also designate material that deal with "anti-social acts" of sexual nature, such as rape and incest, as "harmful publications," from which minors are prohibited from buying or reading.

While the DPJ is the largest faction in the assembly, the bill is being pushed by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its allied parties. The different parties met on Tuesday to set up a June vote. However, the discussion had broken down — thus delaying the vote — when the DPJ proposed revising the bill's definition of "nonexistent youths" and other terms, and the bill's backers refused.

Veteran manga creators Tetsuya Chiba (Ashita no Joe) and Machiko Satonaka (Lady Ann) led a growing number of manga creators who voiced their opposition to the plan. The Japan Pen Club, an organization of authors led by Takashi Atōda, also protested the bill. The assembly had already delayed a planned vote on the bill, which would have happened in March. Several town-hall-style meetings are being planned for citizens on Friday and Saturday.

Last Friday, Tokyo's Office for Youth Affairs and Public Safety published a two-page document outlining the points in the bill. In the document's section about frequently asked questions, the office asserted that the bill would not affect material that "merely" depicts unclothed children, and specifically cited the Doraemon children's manga, which has a scene of the character Shizuka-chan bathing. The office posted other documents regarding the bill last month.

Dan Kanemitsu, a translator and production coordinator living in Tokyo, has posted an updated analysis of the bill as currently drafted.

Source: Sankei Shimbun, Internet Watch

Thanks to Dan Kanemitsu for background material on the bill.

Update: There are several meetings with citizens that different legislators are planning this week and later. Metropolitan Assemblyperson Reiko Matsushita is planning to attend one on Friday, while National Diet candidate Hosaka Nobuto is hosting another one on Saturday. The DPJ caucus of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly is planning a larger meeting on May 24.

Tokuma Shoten, the publisher of Animage magazine and other anime/manga-related publications, is planning to print a "Hi-Jitsuzai Shōnen Dokuhon" (Nonexistent Youth Reader) book late next month. The book will include discussions of the proposed legislation; interviews with manga critic Yukari Fujimoto, Comitia dōjinshi market representative Kimihiko Nakamura, and others; and the responses that creators gave to a questionnaire on the bill. Takami Akai (Crest of the Stars, Princess Maker, Gurren Lagann) is illustrating the front cover, while Miso Suzuki (Zeni) is illustrating the back.

Thanks, Dan Kanemitsu.


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