The authors of the Tokyo loli ban have been busily trying to quell a storm of criticism by “clarifying” their proposal in a way which still allows them to get as much of it through as possible, and in the process appear to have slipped up and claimed that Evangelion’s raunchier scenes would not be banned, despite having just explained in the same document that similar scenes would be banned as harmful to minors in all but “adult” publications.
In response to the backlash against their stalled assault on freedom of expression, the ban’s proponents at Tokyo’s Office for Youth Affairs and Safety have begun backtracking in an effort to make the law appear less threatening, although it is already apparent from their published statements that they are either lying or have no idea what they are talking about.
They attempt to assuage the fears of anime and manga fans by explaining what will not be banned:
“Will scenes with ‘fictional youths’ being naked, bathing or otherwise be included in the ban?’
“Some examples of what will not be included:
Doraemon – Shizuka getting into the bath.
Evangelion – Nude scenes with Rei or Asuka.”
However, the contradict themselves earlier in the same document:
“What do you mean by ‘sexual activity’ and ‘activity resembling sexual activity’?”
“Sexual activity means sex.
Activity resembling sexual activity means things close to sex, such as ‘fellatio,’ ‘masturbation,’ ‘anal sex,’ etc.
Ordinary nudity or kissing is not considered sexual activity. Activity resembling sex, like two naked people lying on top of one another is not considered sex.”
Evangelion in fact includes scenes of masturbation and similar, meaning it would likely fall squarely within the remit of the ban – Tokyo would thus legally require Evangelion DVDs and manga to be sat in the adult section along with “hardcore” pornography, likely a death knell for sales and sure to have a chilling effect on any future titles intended to reach a wider audience.
Were it not to be included of course (they use weasel worded criteria which include phrases like “artistic” and “gratuitous”), it would be clear evidence the criteria for what actually constitutes “harmful” material being applied arbitrarily in favour of popular titles and against any titles considered softer targets, such as late night anime.
Their latest proposal is also now said to specifically condemn scenes of “violence against women” or incest, in addition to its previously enumerated restrictions on anything resembling an underage character, although they are now claiming that “merely resembling an underage character is not enough” – odd that their first draft appeared to say exactly that.
They also specifically deny that the ban would affect the rest of Japan, despite the obvious fact that requiring special labelling and content classification in Japan’s single largest regional market seems unlikely to result in “Tokyo-only” editions, but instead in the censorship of all publications to comply with the demands of selling in Tokyo.
Ban proponents also freely display their prejudice against manga, anime and games by exempting novels from the provisions completely with some trite sophistry:
“A variety of expressions are used in novels, and readers may interpret these differently based on their age, sex, experience and reading ability, so there are all manner of different interpretations, whereas pictures on the other hand yield uniform and objective interpretations.”
The rest of their lengthy and unconvincing rebuttals to frequently asked questions is visible in an official publication.