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Tokyo to Resubmit Bill on Sexual Depictions of Youths (Update 2)

posted on by Egan Loo
"Nonexistent youth" language removed from bill before reintroduction this month

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to re-introduce a revised bill to restrict manga and anime with explicit sexual depictions of children during the parliamentary session that begins at the end of this month. The bill would amend the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance to add these materials to the existing "harmful publications" classification, and thus restrict their sales and renting.

The government submitted an earlier version of the bill in March, but the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly rejected that version in June. That earlier version used the term "nonexistent youth" to define which materials, such as those with rape and other "anti-social acts" of sexual nature, should be restricted; 1,421 manga creators and other opponents said the language was vague and open to interpretation.

The revised bill removes the term "nonexistent youth," and the Yomiuri Shimbun paper reports that the revisions avoid specific references to "characters younger than 18" to describe which materials would be restricted. The newspaper adds that the bill's chances of passage have increased since the Democratic Party of Japan, which opposed the earlier bill, might now accept the revised text.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun

Update: Yukari Fujimoto, a Meiji University associate professor who opposed the earlier bill, wrote in her Twitter account that the predicted increased support for the revised bill reflects the government's "wishful thinking." She added that there has been no discussion regarding the revisions among the legislators with whom she keeps in contact.

Takashi Yamaguchi, an attorney who also opposed the earlier bill, considers the Democratic Party of Japan's stance on the bill to be still undecided. He said that there is a high chance that the newspaper article was intended to curry favor in public opinion and lower the opposition's morale. Yamaguchi notes the newspaper's description of the revisions suggests that the bill will be more vague. Translator Dan Kanemitsu added, "We have not seen the 'new' bill, and even if what the Yomiuri says is true about the content of the new bill, many are alarmed that this broadens the scope of regulation even more than before."

Thanks to Dan Kanemitsu for the news tips.

Update 2: Kanemitsu has additional news and commentary.

This article has a follow-up: Tokyo's Revised Youth Ordinance Amendment Bill Posted (2010-11-22 18:30)
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