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Alleged Mangamura Piracy Site Administrator Being Extradited Back to Japan

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Romi Hoshino arrested in Manila in July

Romi Hoshino, a.k.a. Zakay Romi, the alleged administrator of Mangamura, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila on Tuesday morning as part of his extradition back to Japan. Fukuoka prefetural police will arrest him once he arrives in Japan.

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration took the 27-year-old Hoshino into custody on July 7.

Police also arrested another alleged Mangamura-related individual named Wataru Adachi (37) on August 10, as well as two other individuals: a 26-year-old male named Kōta Fujisaki, and a 24-year-old female named Shiho Itō, who were both reportedly friends of Hoshino. Fujisaki recently pleaded guilty, while Itō pleaded innocent in their arraignment earlier this month.

The Mangamura site launched in 2016. Japanese authorities revealed in May 2018 that they were actively investigating Mangamura after Kodansha and other publishers filed criminal complaints with police departments in summer through fall 2017. Kadokawa, Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shueisha, and Square Enix are currently considering civil action to recover damages incurred by the authors and publishers.

The Japanese government officially asked internet service providers in Japan to block access to three pirated manga websites including Mangamura in April 2018. Mangamura then became inaccessible on April 17, 2018. However, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on the same day that the site did not shut down due to site-blocking from Internet service providers. According to the newspaper's source from a service provider, the action could not have been performed by anyone aside from the site's administrators.

The Japanese government's request asked the providers to voluntarily block access, but the government plans to create new legislation in 2019 to expand the scope of site-blocking. Currently, the site-blocking law is only applicable to child pornography.

According to Japan's Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA), between September 2017 and February 2018, users accessed Mangamura about 620 million times. The association estimated that this caused 319.2 billion yen (about US$2.92 billion) worth of damage to copyright holders in Japan during that time.

Sources: TBS News, NHK News Web

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