Kagawa Bar Association Objects to Prefecture's Ordinance Restricting Video Game Playing Time
posted on by Kim Morrissy
The Kagawa Bar Association released an official statement on Monday requesting an immediate repeal of a recent ordinance that came into effect in the Kagawa Prefecture restricting video game playing time among children.
The ordinance, which attempts to combat video game addiction, took effect on April 1. It was enacted by a majority vote following discussions in the prefectural assembly earlier this year, and marks the first time a local government in Japan has set guidelines restricting video game and smartphone usage.
The guidelines 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 also forbids children under the age of 18 from using game devices after 10pm, or 9pm for children under the age of 12.
The Kagawa Bar Association outlines the main reasons for opposing the ordinance: the government's lack of due diligence and research into the effects of internet usage on children's well-being, their disregard for the practical usefulness of the internet, and the law's infringement of a child's right to self-expression protected by the constitution.
Although the prefecture has no plans to enforce penalties on households that do not comply with the ordinance and ask that households apply rules under their own discretion, the law has attracted opposition on democratic principles. Two weeks ago, a mother and her 17-year-old son filed a lawsuit against the Kagawa Prefecture, claiming that the ordinance is "unconstitutional" and "violates fundamental human rights."