Not all bureaucracies are created equal. Even in the same governmental agency, some people might be more trustworthy and sincere than others. When we talk about a bureaucracy, we tend to notice its worst aspects–Elements that the agency themselves with they could do without.
That said, we can only judge a governmental agency based on the statements and actions that they have exhibited.
And when it comes to the Office of Youth Affairs and Public Safety of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, some of the actions conducted were quite shameful. Now I’ve already talked about the public comments controversy in my last entry, but there are many other acts and states exhibited by the Office of Youth Affairs and Public Safety (OYAPS) that cast serious doubts over their sincerity and trustworthiness. That’s the reason why I titled today’s blog “Faithful Bureaucracy (1)”, as there might be a few more entries in the future.
Ms. Keiko Takemiya is a highly respected and very popular manga author. She has been active since the late 1960’s and her works pioneered many aspects of the Japanese shojo manga that are currently common staples of the genre. Any brief description of her proud and extensive career would be a disservice, so I highly recommend for my readers to find out more about her works, but it goes without saying that her words carry quite a bit of clout, both in the industry as well as outside of it as well.
So when she said Tokyo’s planned March 2010 revision (the Nonexistent Youth Bill) to the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance was a bad idea, a lot of people paid attention. She was one of the industry persons who petitioned members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly very early on in mid March. She squared off with Agnes Chan over the validity and need for the proposed revision bill on the pages of Asahi Newspaper. She attended numerous meetings and rallies aimed to bring more attention to the dangers of the Nonexistent Youth Bill.
This was one reason why OYAPS singles her out as a very important person that needed particular attention.
Tokyo’s governmental agency in charge of screening for “harmful content”, the Office of Youth Affairs and Public Safety, claimed that the Nonexistent Youth Bill would not have negative impact on the manga creative community. Critics of the bill then pointed out if someone like Ms. Takemiya could not trust this bill, how could anyone else? Members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly that were not satisfied with OYAPS’ claims asked if they had even bothered to have discussions with influential authors, such as Ms. Takemiya.
OYAPS admitted they did no such thing. So they went to Ms. Takemiya and tried to turn the situation around to their benefit.
The idea of meeting and talking directly to the officials of OYAPS sounds like a good idea, but most influential authors and industry people avoided it, and they encouraged others to avoid it as well. Why? Because OYAPS would then turn around and claim that “OYAPS has had sincere talks with XXX and YYY, and they accepted our explanation regarding our proposed revision bill.”
Such insincerity would border on being criminal. I personally thought this was a bit too alarmist and even OYAPS would not stoop so low.
As it turns out they did.
Ms. Takemiya was one who was willing to hear what OYAPS had to say, while she was not at all convinced with the arguments that OYAPS made, she did listen to OYAPS’ arguments.
Well during May 7th deliberations of the general affairs committee of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, assembly member Takeshi Tanaka claimed that the Nonexistent Youth Bill was perfectly valid and protesting manga authors simply misunderstood the bill. If a literary giant like the Governor Ishihara accepted the bill, surely manga artists would also accept it once the bill was well explained to them, was Tanaka’s logic. Mr. Tanaka is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party and was fighting to get the bill passed through the committee.
OYAPS replies to Tanaka that they have gone to Ms. Takemiya to explain the bill, and that she accepted their explanation, and thus no further details of that discussion could be diverged. Mr. Tanaka thanks OYAPS efforts.
Later on, OYAPS insists over and over that many people are simply confused with the revision proposal, and once it is fully explained to them, they would accept it.
This turned out to be a blatant lie, according to Ms. Takemiya. She raised the topic at a May 17th meeting regarding the Nonexistent Youth Bill. She was very angry that OYAPS was going around and stating Takemiya accepted their explanation, so others should accept it as well. Ms. Takemiya states unequivocally they were lying.
It really is too bad topics like this don’t get more attention in the press.