Lobbyist and mangaka extraordinaire Ken Akamatsu reports that Japan’s proposed ban on 2D material deemed to feature minors in compromising or explicit situations (i.e. quite possibly most of it) is facing difficulties and may well fail to pass.
Love Hina mangaka Ken Akamatsu has been keeping abreast of developments and addressing politicians, and provides some relatively informative twits on the subject:
It’s thought that the ban won’t pass “this time.” There is a good chance it won’t be deliberated on by the lower house’s Committee on Judicial Affairs, and even if it does there is still the upper house which can reject it. There is also an election soon so the chances are it will become an abandoned bill.
A few days ago the Democratic Party of Japan troubled the LDP with the point that “Why are we just banning manga and anime? Why not novels as well?”
To this deputy PM Taro Aso responded that “it’s because manga stands out more” – come on now…
The Diet members accused those appealing against the ban being nothing but men, so this time I had “a female mangaka with children” join me in the form of Kyo Hatsuki.
The DPJ has also formally announced it is in favour of explicitly excluding art and other creative works from the ban, which really helps a lot.
The DPJ has now formally opposed the new law on a number of grounds, with Diet member Yoshikazu Tarui (pictured cosying up to Akamatsu) also blogging extensively about the dangers of a ban:
[At today's hearing with Akamatsu and various publisher associations] we saw some very intense debate as to whether manga and anime should be subject to the ban, and I’m satisfied we made some acceptable counter-proposals. Even the DPJ sometimes does useful stuff!
[...] As its original objective is to protect real children, the text of the law should exclude fictional depictions in manga, anime and games so as not to exert an oppressive influence on freedom of speech.
[...] The ban on simple possession applies to possessing material for ‘satisfying sexual curiosity.’ How any objective judgement is possible as to why someone possessed such material is not clear, and relying solely on confessions to make a case is problematic.
It is easily possible to engineer someone’s possession of this material, so this is especially dangerous.
Banning possession also entails forcing people to dispose of all previously legal material, and it is not possible to forcibly check everyone’s magazines, books and computers.
Just as the DPJ wishes to stop the spread of child pornography, as we also want to prevent false charges brought about by forced confessions we wish to establish a proper system for prosecuting such offences.
A rejected or abandoned bill would of course mean no ban, but with the ban’s proponents having schemed for years as to how they can finally destroy the evils of anime and manga it would likely just be resubmitted in a subsequent parliamentary session.
However, with Abenomics already collapsing around it the LDP may yet have far more pressing concerns than merely appeasing its substantial contingent of cultists and unreconstituted fascists in subsequent sessions.