I’ve come across two news pieces written in English about Bill 156, the anti-manga and anime bill.
These two are pretty similar, but I’m certain more such articles will pop up in the near future.
“Tokyo bill set to restrict ‘extreme sex’ manga” and “Japan has long been a major source of child pornography.” are completely false statements.
First, regarding the child pornography allegation.
Before Japan adopted child pornography laws in 1999, there was a lot of real life child pornography or to be more specific child sexual abuse material coming out of Japan, but since the law was enacted Japan’s participation in the production of child pornography sank like a rock.
As of 2009, the British watchdog organization Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) reports Asia as a whole only hosts 7% of child sexual abuse material being supplied into the Internet.
North America is at 48% and Europe is at 44%.
This has consistently been the case.
According to the IWF, between 1996 to 2006 51% of servers that hosted child abuse images were located in the United States, 20% was in Russia, 7% was in Spain, and only 5% was located in Japan.
(Unfortunately the link I used for this when I did research in 2008 is currently invalid — http://www.iwf.org.uk/media/news.archive-2006.179.htm — but a quick search on Google will prove that the file did exist at one point. If anyone could provide me with the current where abouts of this file, I would appreciate it.)
What about consumers of child pornography?
For this we have the Italian watchdog organization Telefono Arcobaleno’s 2009 report.
Top 10 Nationality of Internet Paedophiles:
No.1 – USA at 22.3%
No.2 – Germany at 17.6%
No.3 – Great Britian at 6.5%
No.4 – Russia at 6.1%
No.5 – Italy at 5.0%
No.6 – France at 4.8%
No.7 – Canada at 3.0%
No.8 – Spain at 2.3%
No.9 – The Netherlands at 2.2%
No.10 – Sweden at 1.8%
What about Japan? They’re way down at 16th place with 1.5%.
This is important to keep in mind. While the supply of fictional depictions of youth engaged in sexual acts can be considered abundant in Japan, it does not constitute a majority of manga and anime, and it is also clear it has very little spill-over effect regarding real child pornography. In other words, the gateway argument (virtual child porn leads to real child porn) clearly appears to be false.
Regarding Japan’s laws over child pornography and why they don’t currently ban possession, read this: https://dankanemitsu.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/what-is-the-big-deal-with-child-pornography-in-japan/
Now back to the other quote: “Tokyo bill set to restrict ‘extreme sex’ manga”
Any readers of my blog would understand Bill 156 is a MORALITY issue, not a PORNOGRAPHY issue. It is a SUBJECT MATTER RESTRICTION!
I’m sorry being so rude in making that statement, but I am pretty tired of having to repeat, over and over and over, how people need to read the text of the bill and not relay what pundits say about it. Journalists should know better.
Extreme sex manga, i.e. manga that is sexually stimulating, is already subject to restriction. Bill 156 attempts to regulate anti-social and immoral depictions portrayal of sexual relationships that the authors of the bill believe could contribute to the delinquency of youth.
As you already know, Tokyo already has the power to designate anything that is too sexually stimulating for minors OR too sadistic for minors OR too likely to cause criminal acts among minors OR cause suicide among minors as “harmful material”, and force such material to be treated as adult only material.
Bill 156, essentially stipulates all sexual acts that would be illegal in real life OR sexual depictions between close relatives who could not legally get married to be treated as adult material if they are presented in “unjustifiably glorified or exaggerated manner.”
To see complete details of the bill, go here.
On the subject of minor’s access to adult material, both the publishing industry and animation industry has multiple layers of self-regulation, especially the publishing industry. For example, the industry already self regulates “border-line” type magazines in convenience stores by closing them with tape. Hard core erotica is generally self-regulated as being adult only titles. This holds true for both commercial publications as well as doujinshis.
The debate over Bill 156 was how far should the line be drawn, not if a line should be drawn regarding minor’s access.
Proponents of Bill 156 said there is too much borderline erotica and many works exist that, while may not be explicit, they still should be regulated because they could warp minor’s conception of what a “healthy sexuality” should be.
So, I call upon many English speakers of the my blog, try to make your voice heard in any way that you can, to try to break the perpetuation of the notion that Japan is a free for all when it comes to child pornography and erotic subjects in anime and manga and video games. But make sure to be polite!
Unless this misconception is fought effectively overseas, it will become a heavy weight that will burden Japan’s advocates who continue to fight so that manga and anime and video games can continue to be a free as possible and be as innovative and creative as possible.
While Bill 156 might not kill the industry, if this misconception gets out of hand, it will embolden advocates in Japan that would like to conduct outright bans and pre-censorship, and that could become a blow to creative freedom that might irreparably harm Japan’s proud and bold artistic communities of anime and manga and video game.
Please help to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Everything you need is included in the blog entries that I have written.
Good Night, and Good Luck.