Tokyo Youth Healthy Development Ordinance Designed With An Eye Toward Political Censorship

Cross-posted to CandyBullets.

– In any manga, anime, or pictures (most likely including games).

– That feature sexual acts or sexual like acts that would be illegal in real life OR any sexual acts or sexual like acts or implication of a sexual relationship between close relatives OR those who can not marry if they were real AND

– Where the depiction / representation of the relationship is presented in an unjustifiably glorified or overly emphasized manner.

=> Is considered harmful to a minor’s mental health regarding sexuality, and therefore the Tokyo Metropolitan Government shall have the power to unilaterally restrict the material. where the sexual or sexual like act is considered to be excessively disrupting of social order.

That is the criteria for censorship for the scary new Tokyo Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. This is a list of what marriages are currently illegal in Japan today;

1) Marrying to one’s self or anyone of the same sex.

2) Marrying an immediate blood relative. (Children and parent, grandchild and grandmother, etc.)

3) Marriage between a relative by affinity within the third degree. (Siblings, uncle and nephew, etc.)

4) Marriage between two relatives formed by marriage in a parental relationship. (A husband and his wife’s mother or his mother-in-law.) This holds true even after divorce or if the spouse has died.

5) Marriage between an adopted child or adopted child’s spouse with his or her adopting parents, their immediate siblings, their blood relatives, etc. (An adopted son’s divorced wife and the father of one of the adopting parents, etc.) This holds true even after divorce or if the adoption is nullified.

As you can see problems begin to arise quickly. To start with the most glaring problem, the bill gives power to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to censor material that “glorifies” same-sex relationships, this should be an immediate warning bell. The bills stated purpose (“… promoting the healthy development of people under the age of 18 by restricting their access to material that is carefully considered harmful by the Government.) was a warning bell (i.e. terrifying) from the start. The bill slipped in under the radar however do in large part to its author and champion, the Tokyo Metropolitan Governor, an ex-tv personality famous for his snake oil charm, Shintaro Ishihara assured worries with claims he intended to merely go after so-called rorikon (lolicon) and shotacon titles, given that the bill didn’t even aim to censor them entirely per se but merely keep them from minors the bill appeared benign. It wasn’t. The first problems that began to appear were with the claims of “Restriction of Access”, this was a convenient story cooked up by Ishihara’s teem that did a lot to stave off criticism, the idea was that titles “censored” by the government would reappear under an “Adults Only” label, but this was immediately proven to be a sort of impossible catch-22; in the very first batch of manga the government announced it was censoring, Masahiro Itosugi, the mangaka of Aki-Sora (one of the titles being censored), announced the manga was going out of print because it didn’t qualify for the adult label… and it wasn’t allowed to be published without the adult label. Check mate. Furthermore, in Japan, if a manga series is relegated to the adult section, it will destroy the sales. This means publishers will no longer try to confront controversial or hot button issues, because even if they are one of the lucky ones and they aren’t removed from the market entirely they’ll end up deep in the red by being regulated to to the adult section under the absurdly vague parameters of this law.

Next it rapidly became apparent that Ishihara had no intention of stopping with only censoring what he claimed to in the beginning. To ask us to except that the bill, which comes directly from the office of one of the most prominent neocons in the country merely “tragically and unavoidably” happens to give the government the completely unnecessary power to banish gay rights and other revolutionary literature from all children until 18 is absurd. We are not that stupid. Shintaro Ishihara has a further vested political interest in this bill. To put it bluntly, his voting base is dying. The Japanese youth have taken a decidedly liberal outlook standing up to the oppressive japanese social system for the first time in memory. Conservative leaders in Japan have seemingly decided they don’t like the turn the Japanese youth have taken and are aiming to turn the country back to a, safely nationalistic, 1940’s atmosphere. By the time the bills threat was realized it was too late. The proposal didn’t have a public opposition until late in the game when a quickly assembled and rallied group of mangaka began opposing it, they prepared a statement for the Tokyo National Assembly signed by many anime and manga industry personnel opposing the legislation but it was simply too little far too late. Opposition came out hard but late, by the end the bill was opposed virtually across the board by anime and manga companies of any note, including major corporations such as Shueisha, Shogakukan and Kodansha all of who also vowed to boycott the Tokyo International Anime Fair (a very major event in Japan) Rented space down 20% and after the resulting cancellations TAF lowered its expectations for the fair approximately ¥110 million (about US$1.3 million) all of which made major ripples but it was too far along at that point in that the Ishihara’s framing already dominated the conversation, the average uninformed, uneducated, voter in Japan (similarly to America) receives his news via a couple minutes he catches of a sunday minute talk, people have very little interest in peering beyond the surface of anything and politicians that oppose the bill are vulnerable to political attacks because of it (….. xxx stands with pedophiles before he would stand up for your children. Vote LDP 2012! Payed for by Shintaro Ishihara for the Uninformed Sheep who voted for him.) regardless of reality.

And thats when problem number three arose; Ishihara decided he wasn’t happy just censoring the printed word, he decided to branch into internet censorship. Yes, you see the bill was expanded to also give the Tokyo Youth Healthy Development extended powers.

1). The Tokyo Metropolitan government can now control internet access for children of different ages.

2). Internet filtering services to keep those under 18 from being exposed to material that might make their world view more liberal , sorry, to “protect” children from whatever the government decides is “harmful”. Parents can not remove filtering from their children’s mobile phones without submitting a written request to their phone service provider, AND this request must be approved by the Tokyo Metropolitan government.

Talk about giving a new meaning to the term nanny state. And that’s exactly what it is; the government playing parent. The reason why laws like this come into existence is because parents are either too damn lazy to perform their parenting duties, so they try to get the government to do the parenting for them or far more often because they aren’t happy merely parenting their own kids and installing their own offspring with their cultural values. They feel the need to make sure that everyone else is conforming; the entire concept of live and let live is entirely lost on the far-right. They’re not just violating the mangaka and anime companies rights, by forcing them to produce nothing but family-friendly fantasy bullshit they’re also violating the parents as well as the children’s rights. Repeal of this dangerous law should rank highly on the DJP’s check list a few years down the line, we were too late to prevent the passage of this law but assuming that a). Ishihara is voted out of office, and b). the Democratic Party of Japan (DJP) holds power, and of course we, the people, play our cards right there’s no reason we can’t repeal this law and that’s where our focus should be now.