Since the bill’s text was first made public on Monday, November 22nd, a lot of discussion has been focused on the provision’s regarding anime and manga. The bill’s name is actually Bill 156 and this bill to revise the Tokyo Metropolitan Ordinance Regarding the Healthy Development of Youths covers more ground that just anime and manga.
I will now give you a brief summery regarding all its provisions.
1) Tokyo will have the authority to suggest how minors have access to information through their cell phone based on the user’s age, to in order to make such changes, the Governor (or his office) has to heed advise from cell phone service industry people, parental guardians of minors, those with background in education, and etc.
2) Tokyo’s definition of how it deems publicly available material as harmful to minors will be changed.
– Previously, “Any material that may be detrimental toward the healthy development of youth because of their capacity to be sexually stimulating, encourages cruelty, and/or may compel suicide or criminal behavior.” was the criteria.
– Now the criteria will be expanded to include: “Any manga, animation, or pictures (but not including real life pictures or footage) that features either 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*, where such depictions and / or presentations unjustifiably glorify or exaggerate the activity.”
– Any material that is excessively breaches this standard can be deemed to be “harmful material” by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government unilaterally and thereby restrict their circulation from all minors (0-17 of age).
* See Of Illegal Fictional Marriages and Harmful Fictional Sex (Addendum) to see the complete list of marriages that are not sanctioned under Japanese law.
3) Publishers that have over 6 works deemed to be harmful material within a one year period by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government shall be subject to referral to their respective self-regulatory bodies for addressing the repeated offenses. Any further breaches within the following 6 months, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will have the authority to release the name of the company to the public, and the Governor will have the authority to issue opinions and evidence to support that opinion.
In other words, if a publisher releases something that Tokyo deems to be harmful to minors more than 6 times within a 12 month period, then the self-regulatory body that the publisher belongs to will be told to do something about this offending publisher. If the publisher offends once more within 6 months after that process, the Governor will have the right to humiliate the publisher in a public forum, and when that happens, you can expect retailers and distributor to avoid carrying that publisher’s line of works.
4) The bill allows the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to encourages the establishment of an environment where child pornography could be eliminated and prevent its creation.
Normally this would be a good thing, but Japanese child pornography law current has the notorious “Subsection 3″ clause that states “Any pose of a child [ages 0-17] wholly or partially naked, which arouses or stimulates the viewer’s sexual desire.” which is a very subjective standard that could even make family photos albums and National Geographic pages deemed to be “child pornography.”
While the clause included in the previous bill that called for the elimination of the “possession” of child pornography has been removed, the following has been added instead.
“Any sexually arousing posing on the behalf of children under the age of 13 wholly or partially naked, or wearing swimwear or only underwear, published in books or featured in film, must take into account of how the child’s mind and body may be harmed by becoming the object of sexual desire, and therefore parental guardians must exercise parental responsibilities to prevent and educate minors from becoming featured in such work or child pornography.”
Other provision are added to make sure that this new class of material, i.e. material that might not be outright sexual abuse images of children, yet sexually arousing posing of children that may endanger their welfare, should not be circulated and parents should not allow their creation.
5) Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s role in promoting and formulating Internet media literacy policies are confirmed.
6) To prevent harm that could arise from minor’s access to the Internet, filtering must be made more easily available and they must become more effective.
This is part of a response to the increasing phenomenon of cyber-bullying among other issues.
7) If a parental guardian wishes to deactivate a minor’s cell phone’s Internet filtering, they must submit a written request to their cell phone service provider where they recognize that it will be the parental guardian’s responsibility to make sure the minor’s Internet access is properly supervised AND that the reason for deactivation is recognized as being justifiable by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Currently, when minors (0-17) in Tokyo sign up for a cell phone service that included Internet access, the Internet filtering is activated by default, but parents can ask for the filtering to be turned off. This clause would make it much more difficult for parents to deactivate Internet filtering on their children’s cell phone.
8) Parental guardians must properly supervise and administer Internet usage by minors in their care to prevent dangerous usage patterns that might involve criminal activities, etc. and strive toward limiting minor’s exposure to information that may result in criminal activities or become victims to the minimum possible.
That’s the major chunks of Bill 156. I’m sure the number 156 will carve out a unique spot within the psyche of fans of manga and anime for many years to come, regardless of how this bill fares in the legislative process.
Please note that my summary should not be taken as the final authority regarding the wording of the provision. I merely provide this information as a free service and readers should exercise their own discretion regarding my summary and translation.
For more information regarding comparisons of how the language of the bill has been changed from the past bill, I highly recommend Internet Watch’s article here.
This is also a good source to see all the changes being implemented. It is a PDF file created by a volunteer.
Addendum: This entry was updated on Dec. 4th, 2010.
Previously I had translated the word 誇張 as emphasize, but I have decided to revise this translation to the word exaggerate. When I first translated the word, I felt that exaggerate was too broad, but as I’ve read more and more of the writing regarding Bill 156.
Addendum: This entry was updated on Dec.8th, 2010.
The sections reading (0-18) should have been (0-17). This has been corrected.