The Democratic Party of Japan is reporting that its legislators in the Tokyo metropolitan assembly have agreed to support the looming ban on the sale of unhealthy anime, manga and games.
Masaki Ito, a DPJ Tokyo assemblyman, reports all the cliques in his party are in agreement that will support the Tokyo government’s efforts to restrict the sale of manga, anime and games featuring fictional sex crimes:
We will support it, with the addition of a supplementary resolution [...] which requests the prudent application of the law.
Naturally, there is no objective standard for what is “prudent application” of a restriction on the sale of “harmful literature,” and no legal process or independent assessment of what should be banned.
Doubtless governor Ishihara would now be delighted to see the pesky manga industry disappear completely; indeed, it could only help sales of his own rape novels, which are exempted from any sort of restriction, along with films – so conspicuous an exemption that many cannot help but conclude the law is aimed solely at persecuting the anime, manga and game industries.
The whole fiasco also exposes some rather alarming deficiencies in the publishing industry; in most democratic countries a coalition of publishers would have little trouble protecting their interests from the marauding populism of a single local politician backed only by a zealous PTA, but Japan’s major publishers seem to have failed to secure the support of a single major party even at a local level in the national centre of the industry.
Ito goes on to politely explain how much public opposition to the bill his party has received, and how he will be ignoring it all completely:
We’ve received lots of mail about this. I haven’t had a chance to read it all, but I’ve seen much of it. Maybe we haven’t fully addressed your concerns, but I am grateful you have displayed such passion towards the Tokyo metropolitan government.
It would appear the Democrats will support the ban despite unanimous opposition from mangaka and publishers, a petition with 150,000 signatures opposing the law and what appears to be overwhelmingly negative public opinion – Japanese democracy at its finest.
Due to the self serving nature of politicians, the shady backroom nature of Japanese politics, and the complete lack of reliability in mass media reporting in Japan, it is difficult to say whether this member’s public statements will reflect how matters play out – previously parts of the DPJ were said to be vehemently opposed to the bill – but it certainly does not sound promising.
The actual vote is due on the 15th of December, and efforts to dissuade politicians from supporting the ban continue – vainly, it seems.