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2 Parties Oppose Tokyo's Revised Youth Ordinance Bill

posted on by Egan Loo
Governor criticizes marital sex in manga, "homosexuals" on TV; symposium simulcasted on Monday

The Japanese Communist Party of Tokyo and the Tokyo Seikatsusha Network Mirai announced last week that they will oppose the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's new attempt to amend the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. Both parties say that the new bill is largely unchanged from the bill that the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly rejected in June. The current ordinance already prevents the sale and renting of "harmful publications" — materials that are "sexually stimulating, encourages cruelty, and/or may compel suicide or criminal behavior."

The proposed Bill 156 would require the industry to also self-regulate the sale and renting of "manga, anime, and other images (except for real-life photography)" that "unjustifiably glorify or exaggerate" certain sexual or pseudo sexual acts. The revised bill will specifically target depictions of "sexual or pseudo sexual acts that would be illegal in real life, or sexual or pseudo sexual acts between close relatives whose marriage would be illegal" and therefore be "detrimental toward the healthy development of youth." Another section of the revised bill would allow the government to directly restrict the sale and renting of the above images if the depicted acts are also "considered to be excessively disrupting of social order" such as rape.

Out of 127 seats in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, the Japanese Communist Party has eight and the Seikatsusha Network has three. The independent legislator Yoshiko Fukushi has also announced her opposition to Bill 156. The Democractic Party of Japan, the largest faction at 52 seats, has yet to announce its stance on the bill, although it did oppose the earlier version of the bill. The 38-seat Liberal Democratic Party and the 23-seat New Komeito Party supported the earlier bill.

Manga Creators Oppose Bill While PTA & Tokyo Governor Support It

On November 29, three manga creator groups — the Japan Cartoonists Association, the Copyright Network for Comic Authors in the 21st Century, and Manga Japan — announced their opposition to the bill. In their joint statements, the groups said that there is an extremely high risk that the bill would infringe on the freedom of expression due to the expansive scope of the proposed regulations. In particular, the groups assert that the restrictions against content that "unjustifiably glorify or exaggerate" are vague and unclear; the groups added that these regulations would deprive manga and anime of the diverse and versatile methods of expression that they currently have.

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara advocated the previous and current versions of the bill. After manga creators who opposed the bill held a November 29 press conference, the broadcaster TV Asahi reported that Ishihara responded by saying, "Anyone who claims it's not harmful to children to draw manga that features the sex life of married couples and the such are idiots. Tell them, 'You need to go cool your heads.'" Ishihara responded to the Tokyo Parent Teacher Association's December 3 petition in support of the bill by saying, “It's not just about children. We've got homosexuals casually appearing even on television. Japan has become far too untamed. I'll go forward with [this bill] with a sense of mission in heart.”

Symposium to be Simulcasted Online on Monday

The Nico Nico Douga website is streaming a live symposium by a group opposing the ordinance amendment bill on Monday at 7:00 p.m. in Tokyo (5:00 a.m. EST). The scheduled panelists include:
  • Toin University of Yokohoma law professor Mikio Kawai
  • Manga critic/Japan Society for Studies in Cartoon and Comics President Tomofusa Kure
  • Translator Dan Kanemitsu (Black Lagoon, Love Hina, Patlabor movies)
  • Manga creator/anime script contributor Miki Tori (Anywhere But Here, Patlabor WXIII)
  • Japan Magazine Publishers Association's editorial and ethics committee member Takayuki Nishitani
  • Journalist/former House of Representatives legislator Nobuto Hosaka
  • Boys-love author/light novelist Izumi Mito/Raika Kobayashi
  • Science-fiction author Hiroshi Yamamoto
  • Meiji University associate professor Yukari Fujimoto
  • Link Law Office lawyer Takashi Yamaguchi

Thanks to Dan Kanemitsu for the translations and Cloud668 for the news tip.

Sources: Mainichi (link 2), ITmedia News, TV Asahi (expired link) via PJ News, Jiji Press

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