News Japan Cartoonists Association, Others Oppose New Child Pornography Revision Bill
posted on 2013-05-29 15:00 EDT
The Japan Cartoonists Association, as well as the Japan Magazine Publishers Association and the Japan Book Publishers Association, have all posted statements of opposition to the bill containing a proposed new amendment to the country's current child pornography laws. Japan's ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), along with co-sponsors New Komeito Party and the Japan Restoration Party, submitted the amendment to the lower house of the National Diet of Japan on Wednesday. The parties look to make possession of child pornography a crime. The amendment would make possession of sexual images of individuals under 18 illegal, with a fine of 1 million yen (about US$10,437) and less than a year in jail if the subject is found to have the images for "the purpose of satisfying sexual curiosity." The bill would also provide for greater measures to prevent child pornography from being transmitted online.
The Japan Book Publishers Association statement notes that "while this bill says it is protecting children, the truth is it is also restricting freedom of expression." The statement of opposition also questions why regulations on anime and manga are mentioned in the amendment "even though the original goal [of the amendment] is to protect the human rights of actual children." The Japan Book Publisher's Association also stated that "the risk of destroying Japan's cherished manga culture would be very high" if the bill were passed. The associations also oppose a clause in the amendment that would investigate if there were any link between anime and manga and the violation of human rights of real children. The Japan Cartoonists Association's statement notes that the regulations on anime and manga would "have an undesired negative influence [on the anime and manga industry] and would cause turmoil."
The Comic Market Preparations Committee, the group responsible for organizing the largest dōjinshi event in the world, has also posted an opposition statement to the amendment. Japan's Dōjinshi Sellers Association also posted an opposition statement.
Taro Yamada, a member of the lower house and of the Your Party, posted on his blog last month that he saw a draft of the reform bill. The draft does not differentiate between pornography featuring real children and images of children. Additionally, the draft bill includes a provision for an investigation to be conducted on if there is a relationship between anime, manga, and CG images and violations of human rights of children. The draft does not state that the investigation would be conducted by a third party.
The final draft of the bill has not yet been made public.
A majority vote between Japan's lower house (House of Representatives) and the upper house (House of Councillors) is required for the bill to pass into law. The LDP and New Kemeito parties have a supermajority within the lower house, but do not have a majority within the upper house. If the upper house defeats the bill, it can still be passed by the lower house unilaterally after a 60-day mandatory waiting period and if it is supported by a supermajority. The current Diet session ends on June 26, and the three parties are aiming to pass the reform bill before the session ends.
Boys-love author/light novelist Izumi Mito/Raika Kobayashi (Seitō Kijinka Seitō-tan) and manga creator Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima) have spoken out about the bill's provisions. Akamatsu visited the Diet and the LDP headquarters last week to express his concern.
The LDP previously proposed a petition in 2011 to change Japan's child pornography laws so that they apply to anime, manga, and video games. The Japanese Restoration Party was created by former Tokyo governor and current lower house Diet member Shintaro Ishihara. Ishihara was a major advocate of Tokyo's amended Youth Healthy Development Ordinance; the amendment expanded the number of manga and anime that fall under "harmful publications," the legal category of works that must not be sold or rented to people under the age of 18.