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Kagawa Prefecture Passes Ordinance Restricting Children's Video Game Playing Time

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Non-binding guidelines mark first local government ordinance in Japan aimed at combating video game addiction

The Kagawa Prefectural Assembly passed an ordinance on Wednesday restricting video game playing time among children in a bid to combat video game addiction. The ordinance will take effect on April 1 and marks the first time a local government in Japan has set guidelines restricting video game and smartphone usage.

The non-binding guidelines will restrict children under the age of 18 to 60 minutes of video game playing or smartphone usage per weekday and 90 minutes on weekends. It would also forbid children under the age of 18 from using game devices after 10pm, or 9pm for children under the age of 12. The prefecture has no plans to enforce penalties on households that do not comply with the guidelines and ask that households apply rules under their own discretion.

The government will also provide information and support for parents and schools regarding measures for combating video game addiction. The ordinance further requests that companies which develop or distribute games refrain from making games that may exacerbate addictive or gambling behaviors, such as micro-transactions and chance-based gacha systems.

The ordinance was enacted by a majority vote following discussions in the prefectural assembly earlier this year. The issue was opened to public comment between January and February, and drew 2,615 comments. 2,269 were in favor of the ordinance, while 334 were against it. The results align with Wizleap's survey of 1,178 parents of elementary school aged children conducted in late January, which found that over 80% of parents support restrictions on video game playing time among children in some form.

On the other hand, the government's proposals drew criticism online, with some voices arguing that the proposed guidelines are too excessive. Businesses were also generally against the ordinance, with 67 of 71 businesses submitting comments opposing the ordinance, while none voiced support.

Source: The Japan Times

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