College Student Arrested for Threatening Kagawa Lawmaker Over Game Playing Ordinance
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Police arrested a 21-year-old male suspect on Wednesday after he allegedly sent a threatening message to Kagawa prefectural assembly member Ichirō Ōyama. According to the authorities, the suspect admitted that he wanted the Kagawa assembly to repeal a recent ordinance restricting video game playing time among children.
The police said that the suspect — a university student in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture — had written a message on Ōyama's homepage in April, threatening to stab Ōyama with a knife "over and over," among other statements. The assembly notified the police of the threatening message two days after receiving it. Ōyama was the chair of the assembly's committee that drafted the ordinance.
The ordinance took effect on April 1, following discussions in the assembly and a majority vote. It aims to combat video game addiction, and marks the first time a local government in Japan has set guidelines restricting video game and smartphone usage.
The guidelines restrict children under the age of 18 to 60 minutes of video game playing or smartphone usage per weekday and 90 minutes on weekends. It also forbids children under the age of 18 from using game devices after 10pm, or 9pm for children under the age of 12.
Although the prefecture has no plans to enforce penalties on households that do not comply with the ordinance and ask that households apply rules under their own discretion, the law has attracted opposition on democratic principles. In May, a mother and her 17-year-old son filed a lawsuit against the Kagawa Prefecture, claiming that the ordinance is "unconstitutional" and "violates fundamental human rights." The Kagawa Bar Association requested an immediate repeal of the ordinance in late May.