Bill 156’s Total Scope

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.

This entry was posted in bureaucracy, censorship, harmful material, news, nonexistent youth, public morality and media. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Bill 156’s Total Scope

  1. xenocross says:

    I am sad
    It is weird how they ignore the junior idol and real porn, but target anime and manga

    • dankanemitsu says:

      They are not ignoring junior idols and real porn, but they are focusing on anime and manga above all else.
      Divide and conquer is an old and effective tactic, but sometimes it can backfire. We’ll soon find out.

    • Anime-Lover4Life says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with you and the photo part is so veg that any type of photo can be deemed sexual no matter what their doing.

  2. Zimeon says:

    This is so downright and utterly stupid that I’d be speechless unless I was used to this kind of crap.

    Criminalizing images of behaviour that would be illegal if performed in reality?




    That is sort of part of the WHOLE F*CKING POINT with fiction.

  3. Blahd says:

    “Of Illegal Fictional Marriages” – lol the whole thing sounds like an oxymoron… being illegal and being fictional – that looks like saying that if you imagine an illegal marriage you’ll be an offender. In fact, I really understand people’s concern on the matter, but they are going too far, and also, this issue isn’t the most important one – so they are just digressing from the more important problems. What’s more, it’s really funny how politicians are really concerned mostly about the things that concern their ideology and are so little concerned with the needs of the individual – what I mean is that they care less about the benefits and negative sides of the whole thing, than about the effects of these ideas on their images. And let’s just say it directly – this “ordinance” contradicts the Japanese constitution…

  4. CaptRex says:

    Messed up. Really messed up. Ishihara’s going to get attacked you betcha.

  5. Tanko says:

    Thanks for clarifying the whole bill matter. Maybe I didn’t understand everything correctly but is it possible that the government will be able to forbid any themes (such as yaoi, yuri, smut shoujo) for 18+ public?

  6. steef says:

    it kind of sucks that they are doing all this but form what i understand somethings will still be made but sold only to 18 + people and it will only be less made of because it will be harder to sell in Tokyo
    well i hope that this won’t affect the anime’s of the coming year to much but i can only wait and see and thanks for the info now i know what to expect a little

  7. matthew says:

    when I was close to 8 or 10 I was going to commit suicide because I felt like there was to look ford to and my live sucked and it is not going to get much better but then something miraculous happened I found anime and it saved my live!.

    11 years down the rood and anime still makes me laugh and be happy. I like watching Harem because of the love and romance and some for the scenes were a little Ecchi/Yuri because of a spell that went wrong some how.

    what I want to know is how much Ecchi/Yuri etc, is to much. Is any anime with it going to be cut from production? what a about Ecchi anime wallpaper?

    All I know is I want bill 156’s to fall and be put in the ground and never be dug up again!.

    • dankanemitsu says:

      Many people have written in support of anime and manga as helping them get over difficult periods in their lives. I’m glad you were able to find works that helped you keep going when the going was really rough. How anime and manga has been life savers has been forwarded to the legislators, but I don’t enough people in the general public realize this as well.

      Regarding how much is too much H is very hard to tell. But it is important to realize that Bill 156 is not a lewdness restriction, but a subject matter or morality restriction. Even if something is depicted tastefully, if the depiction is deemed to be too celebratory or flaunted in a manner that is “inappropriate” according to Tokyo’s standards, then it could be designated as harmful material.

  8. Scott Hart says:

    From my understanding of this bill and my (very) limited understanding of Japanese law this bill is a step forward. Sorry to say this to everyone out there but how is it OK for people to want to see small children in sexual positions? Fictional or not these depictions are seriously wrong. There is no reason for them to exist. Also to those who defend the banning of incest, why? No; seriously why, there is never a reason to legitimize it and there is no need for it as a form story telling device. It is messed up and to attack any regulation as wrong due to over zealous enforcement is backward. If section 3 is a problem more thoroughly define it as a regulation. But for god’s sake don’t stand up a defend the sickening filth that is CP and incest, there is so much more in anime and manga that needs defending, so many things that are not twisted.

    • xanith says:

      And that’s exactly how they get you. They put some things in there most people would agree with so that people who disagree with the more problematic parts can be attacked as “defending child porn” or whatever other unsavory thing.

      There’s too much in here that’s too vague for me to consider it a step forward. They’re making it so that they can restrict anything that they think is sexual or harmful without telling specifically enough what they think that is for people to follow the law.

    • Joss says:

      That is a slipperly slope you’re on. While I certainly don’t support the panic mongering being purpetrated by many people in regard to this bill (I said elsewhere: Avoiding any speculation as to the motivation of the legislation, which largely relies on Ad Hominem connections to Ishihara’s bigotry in other cases, I really don’t see why Japan, a country that is very liberal in its media content, would suddenly adopt practices more akin to its rival, China. To properly measure the probable affect of this legislation, the entire legal and constitutional canvass must be examined. I’m not seeing that in these articles.), I don’t agree with any form of blanket censorship. For example, the poignancy of the film Oldboy would be illegal by your stance. Other lawmakers in Australia, the UK and the USA want to criminalise “expression that incites ‘terrorism'”. Such language could easily be applied to V for Vendetta.

      The idea that certain ideas and concepts are illegal, not just their practice, is a dangerous one. It criminalises expression and debate. The use or exploration of such ideas need not be in support of their literal practice. In fiction, an incestous dysnasty could be used in contrast to illustrate the importance of diversity. The deconstruction of the classic freedom fighter archetype into a terrorist could be used to explore matters of subjectivity and moral relativity.

      I know you aren’t talking about terrorism, but any moves to outlaw one taboo will inevitably gather moves to outlaw others. To go back on track, a fiction could explore the implications of attraction towards a minor (deemed the mindset of a pedophile) to explore the concept of a lost childhood or an retarded ability to relate to peers. Even if it were only the exuberance, innocence or reminiscent qualities the adult was attracted to, it would be deemed deviant by literal minds.

      But I must say, that Japanese law tends to be layered. Rather than construct legislation designed to cover all, there are many designed to cascade. As I said above and in the other comments, the whole legal and constitutional canvass needs to be examined. The fairness and unambiguous language may be absent simply because of a referral to other language in other laws and legislation.

      • karice says:

        >The idea that certain ideas and concepts are illegal, not just their practice, is a dangerous one. It criminalises expression and debate.
        But they’re not making expression illegal. They’re trying to regulate it. I think what people and commentators have trouble accepting is that maybe, just maybe, the Japanese law system will be fair enough that works that explore moral issues (like Koi Kaze regarding incest) will be fine?

        Admittedly, cases such as the one depicted in “I just didn’t do it” aren’t exactly confidence-inducing, but the issue of what constitutes e.g. obscenity has been taken to the Supreme court before, with what I think are reasonable results. It seems to be 50-50, and we’ll only find out exactly how far they intend to go when cases crop up.

        I completely agree with what you say about the supposedly vague language though. The term 性交類似行為 (which Dan has translated as “pseudo-sexual acts”) was debated 11 years ago during the 145th sitting of the Japanese Diet (link in Japanese) – they basically said that it meant “something that looks like sexual intercourse” and that e.g. casual/normal kisses definitely don’t fall under it.

    • Moriarty says:

      look I understand where you are comeing from and agree that child porn is a major no no. but your getting the wrong impresion. I read a lot of manga including plenty of things which fall under this bill. HOWEVER in all the things I read with echi content the persons are all, or at least mostly highschoolers, and if I remember the survey results something like >70% of teenagers in America have sex before graduating from highschool (I know thats not Japan but you get the idea) the plain and simple truth of the mater is that these manga are targeting highschoolers. the only reason that adults are getting so agitated about it is because there is a much greator age differance between themselves and the main character. for 16 or 17 year olds the age differance can be nonexistant or as little as 2 or 3 years. to the teenagers these manga target that dose not come across as CHILD pornography. furthermore in most casses no sexualy explicit acts are commited, far more common are funny scenes depicting aquard moments between a boy and girl, that end quickly because of a third party.

  9. ±_±Seriously±_± says:

    I find this somewhat retarded, fine that they have an idea on how to solve problems but this is just doing it the wrong way.
    I would say they should target the porn industry more but then that would take away the only companionship they have on those long cold winter nights ±_±

  10. Kyo Kusanagi says:

    is this law only applicable in tokyo or is it Countrywide [although most of the anime and manga industry is tokyo based] if it is on applicable in tokyo does this mean publisher’s can still release the forbidden content outside tokyo

  11. Zedrich says:

    Stores in Japan already have precautions that prevent or make it difficult for youths and underaged persons in Japan to acquire 18+? content, so this is essentially an enhancement to it. The problem with this new law/bill is that the scope is too broad and does not define EXACTLY WHAT type of content is completely unacceptable.

    This is also due to international meddling. The lies that Equality Now have spammed to Japanese officials (yes they DID), as well as international pressure? due to CNN’s glamorous ‘advertising’ of a certain rape simulation game THREE years after it was released to the public. You can bet top dollar that the puritanists, feminazis and morality guardians, i.e. moralf4gs AS WELL AS THE MAJORITY of the UNKNOWING PUBLIC only knew about it through CNN (thus the virality of it as the number of times the game was downloaded from various sources increased exponentially after that) and did NOT consider the fact that only? fictional (as in CHARACTERS WHO NEVER EXISTED IN THE FIRST PLACE) were harmed in the game. What’s next, ban movies and games that show or even hint at rape, violence, etc.?

    Its just ironic how an act that CREATES LIFE (i.e. sex) that is done in oh so many ways (yes, they are fetishes, nothing wrong with them as long as proper judgment, common sense and PROPER CONSENT in exploring such fetishes is used) is considered much more of a ‘DO NOT SPEAK OF SUCH THINGS’ topic than acts that TAKE AWAY LIFE such as murder, drug? cartel hits, killing sprees and other much more twisted things happening not only in reality but in various media such as games, film, etc.

    The irony of humanity that is slowly losing the ‘human’ part due to a twisted form of ‘morality’ that borders on ‘PARANOID OVERPROTECTIVENESS’, which in turn leaves the younger generation without knowledge on the seemingly taboo topic of sexual health – something which is a part of life and yet is treated with disgust by puritanists, feminists and certain religions.
    That being posted, i think the reason why these various content exist is merely as a healthy (as in never to be actually performed in real life) outlet for those who have interest in such fetishes. It is up to the user/fanbase to use their judgment and bear responsibility for their actions, and for parents to be more cautions AND also more understanding about these things. Merely not having proper knowledge about something should not mean immediate condemnation, in the same way a book should not be judged by it’s cover.

    However, do not get me wrong in any way whatsoever. I do NOT condone rape, gore, violence or abuse in any way IF real victims are affected. But when it comes to fictional work, people need to put aside their morality sensors and either open your mind & enjoy it for what it is or don’t bother watching, reading or playing it. No one is forcing you to. I myself admittedly has gone deep into the 18+ material category including certain anime, manga and visual novels for both story and content, but that does not mean i am automatically a bad person.

    As for children and teenagers, the reason for the 18+ designation is to protect them from early exposure to adult themed content. But i can only imagine the horror of what can happen to the anime and manga industry if this vaguely worded law/bill affects certain titles simply because it has school uniforms in it (NO I am NOT kidding, they don’t want school themes/uniforms on teenage-oriented manga. Like, yeah, right?) or fighting/violence e.g. Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, etc. (it is broader than that too – just read the page where the first post’s link goes)

    The things that i am really concerned about is that even UNICEF has jumped on the bandwagon of the campaign against anime, manga and games with ‘unacceptable content’ along with the fact that the politicians in Japan have turned a deaf ear to any protests to this passed law, and the lack of action not only by the Japanese fanbase, but also the international community. This might be the 12th time i posted this same message (with edits of course) as my personal campaign against what may be the end of the world for the industry. (The Mayans were one year off T_T)

    Hopefully something or anything happens to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality. Hopefully the majority of the most popular titles are not affected, but i really have a bad gut feeling about this law.

    Shintaro Ishihara is now Most Wanted Man on otakus’ and fans of anime and manga’s Hit Lists, Bingo Books and Death Notes.

    • Manga and Anime fan says:

      I completely agree with you i really hope One Piece,Naruto,Bleach and other anime and manga don’t get effected.

  12. Jackman says:

    this bill is total bullshit, hope it doesn’t get implemented as a law, it needs to get abolished even before it gets put into place …

    this is a fucking violation of freedom of speech, most of the time, all this controversial stuff like sex, fighting violence, drugs, blood , gore, and so on, aren’t even that bad as they claim … in fact, without some of these elements, the content of the said entertainment would not be as entertaining …

    But really suprising is that Japan, which is known for its leniency towards all this kind of content in its entertainment, is now suddently trying to ban it all. I hope Japan will continue to be the open minded country that they were now and always.

  13. bill156sucks says:

    this bill will ruin their economy … enough said

  14. atni-BILL156 says:

    amusing, =_=
    a bill that was made to ruin the lives and welfare of the people their government were supposed to protect =_=

  15. Julianne says:

    “Bill 156’s Total Scope | Dan Kanemitsu’s Paper Trail” really makes me personally think a somewhat more.
    I loved every single part of this post. Thanks for your effort ,Jeramy

  16. Natsu says:

    this bill is really going to ruin EVERYTHING ><

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