Japan’s prime minister Naoto Kan has deplored the devastation Tokyo governor Ishihara has wrought on the Tokyo International Anime Fair, stressing the importance of spreading anime to the world and urging all sides to come to an accommodation even as Shueisha announced it will be blocking any Shonen Jump anime from appearing there.
The prime minister made the remarks in a recent post on his official blog:
“Another thing is the matter of Japan, the brand. Currently a great many people are raising concerns about the Tokyo International Anime Fair as it relates to the matter of youth welfare.
Raising children healthily is an important matter. But at the same time, transmitting Japanese anime to the world is also important.
I want to see the parties concerned endeavour to avoid causing the Tokyo International Anime Fair to be unable to be held in Tokyo.”
Presumably the comment is intended as both a warning to Ishihara (who has refused any sort of compromise with the publishing industry) not to abuse his position in a manner which will gut both Japan’s “soft power” and its economy and culture, and an exhortation to the Tokyo DPJ to reconsider their support of the law – they have pledged to support it, but the bill has not yet been fully signed into law.
There is unlikely to be any love lost between Kan and Ishihara – Kan is left-wing Democrat with a noted aversion to confrontation, whilst Ishihara is an abrasive populist on the far-right of the political spectrum, so much so that he felt compelled to start his own party of fellow senile geriatric right-wingers as the LDP apparently did not hate foreigners enough for his taste.
Kan’s approval rating is currently under 20% after his handling of the recent Senkaku affair, and it is expected he will not last much longer – thus it may simply be possible nobody will take any notice of him, particularly Ishihara, who actually made the accusation that “many[Democrats] are descendents of non-Japanese” and even urged people to physically attack Kan if he did not stand at a recent military parade.
That it is the likely cancellation of the Tokyo Anime Fair which elicited his comments seems a vindication of the industry’s belated decision to fight back – though an additional threat to cancel Comiket and emphasis on the crushing effect on the Akiba tourist trade are still unstruck targets.
The statements come just as Shueisha declared outright war on the event – their CEO announced that not only would none of their manga titles be appearing, they would be blocking any of the anime based on their titles from appearing as well.
Shueisha publishes Shonen Jump, which is of course the source of One Piece and Naruto, along with so many other internationally renowned anime titles.