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Tokyo Reps: 'Nonexistent Youth' Bill May Still Pass in June

posted on 2010-05-02 13:30 EDT
Lawmakers dispute newspaper report of delay on bill restricting creative works

Tokyo Metropolitan Assemblypersons Masaki Itō, Zenkō Kurishita, and Reiko Matsushita all disputed an April 20 newspaper report of a delay on a bill to regulate sexualized depictions of "nonexistent youths." The Sankei Shimbun paper had reported that the bill will be delayed until September. However, these members of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) — the largest faction in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly — said that the bill may still be put to a vote as early as June, over their objections.

The current draft of the bill would prohibit sexualized depictions of "nonexistent youths" — such as in manga, anime, and other materials — from being sold to minors. The bill 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 also prohibited from buying or reading.

Itō, Kurishita, and Matsushita are opposed to the bill as it stands. The legislation is being pushed by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) — the second largest faction in the assembly — and its allied parties. Even though the DPJ is the largest faction, the governor of Tokyo is Shintarō Ishihara of the LDP. Neither party has an outright majority without the support of other parties.

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 in March.

Dan Kanemitsu, a translator and production coordinator living in Tokyo, has posted a report from a meeting that Assemblyperson Matsushita and Takashi Yamaguchi, an attorney opposed to the bill, held on April 23.

In a separate development, Tokyo's Office for Youth Affairs and Public Safety posted more answers to frequently asked questions last Monday. The office is responsible for determining which materials should be restricted from minors in Tokyo. The office asserted that the following materials are examples of what would not be restricted if the bill passes:

However, Yukari Fujimoto, an associate professor at Meiji University and a former editor, asserted in a Twitter post that the Office for Youth Affairs and Public Safety's document uses a set of criteria that is not in the actual text of the bill. Matsushita and the other legislators opposed to the bill have said that the bill would grant the office broad discretion in determining what would be restricted.

Thanks to Dan Kanemitsu for the news tips.

Source: ITmedia News


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