Bill 156, known under such names as Nonexistent Youth Bill Ver.2, Nonexistent Crime Bill and the Anti-Anime and Manga Bill, was approved by a majority of full session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly.
Self regulation will be mandated from April 1st and sales regulation enforcement will begin from July 1st of 2011. While the amendment does not specify the status of previously published books, specialists believe reprinting of titles published in the past will now be subject to the new restrictions after the above dates.
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.
With the passage of Bill 156, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will have the additional power to restrict any manga, anime and video games (but not live photography works) that feature any sexual acts that would violate criminal codes or Tokyo ordinances 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.
This is a sad day for anime and manga and video games, but the fight will continue. With the Big 10 manga publishing companies up in arms, the issue is unlikely to fade away any time soon.
I also believe the democratic process suffered a major setback as well. Tens of thousands of formal petitions, large numbers of phone calls, truck loads of letters, and enough email traffic to overflow many legislator’s email servers were reported. As I understand, the vast majority of these were in opposition. Over the next few weeks, we’ll find out more about the numbers involved, but I believe this bill’s legislative process suffered several key missteps that taints its legitimacy.
Will the world end tomorrow? Will anime and manga die after July of 2011?
No, it won’t.
I’ll try to put together a Q & A soon, but please understand I can’t do it right away. I’m not getting paid for doing any of this and this is really putting a strain on my work and real life.
However, something I really do worry about the misconception of Japan as a nation were any and all sexually explicit hard core pornography is unregulated and that child sexual abuse photographs and films (i.e. child porn) are pumped out of Japan. Such myths will be very damaging unless it kept in check.
If you come across articles like that, I encourage people to write and tell its authors that is a very biased and not a very truthful statement to make. Unless people question such reporting, it will become accepted as fact.
I’ve covered that subject here.
In the meantime, this is a moment to remember that even in the darkest moments of a raging storm, you have to stay calm, remain vigilant and keep hope. The purpose of censorship is to instill fear, but fear is something we can fight all on its own.
Good night, and good luck.