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Multiparty Diet Group to Submit Bill to Keep Original Anime Cels, Manga Materials in Japan

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Bill seeks to establish media arts center to preserve, exhibit original manga, anime materials

The Diet Members for Manga, Anime, and Games suprapartisan lawmaker group announced last Friday that it plans to submit a bill when the Japanese Diet convenes on January 22 that aims to establish a "Media Arts National Center" that will be tasked with collecting original manga materials and anime cels for preservation. The bill aims to prevent the acquisition of cels and manga material by foreign collectors and minimize the foreign dissemination of the materials.

Keiji Furuya, the House Steering Committee Chairman and leader of the group, said that "[the materials and cels] must be preserved as treasures of Japan," and urged that the media arts center be established as soon as possible. The proposed location for the center is in the vicinity of the Akihabara district in Tokyo.

While the Japanese administration under the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and then-Prime Minister Tarō Aso previously planned a "National Media Arts Center" in 2009 that included the preservation of manga and anime materials as part of its proposed objectives, Yukio Hatayama of the then-opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) criticized the project as a "national manga café" and an "enormous waste." The DPJ also criticized the project by noting that facilities such as the International Manga Museum in Kyoto already exist. Following the succession of Hatayama as Prime Minister after the DPJ won the 2009 general elections, the 11.7-billion-yen project was shuttered.

Current facilities are currently constrained by copyright laws that prevent the digitization of cels for preservation, but the proposed bill aims to make the Media Arts National Center a part of the National Diet Library, and thus be an exception to the copyright laws.

If built, the center will put the materials on exhibit, and allow visitors to view them for free, as well as provide updated information on manga and anime related events taking place nationwide.

Thanks to Lester Yung for the news tip.

Sources: Jiji.com, The Japan Times

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