The 183rd National Diet session of Japan just ended yesterday, June 26, and people who were expecting the proposed amendments to controversial Child Pornography Bill to be scrapped by now are going to be disappointed. The proposed amendments were submitted last May 29 and gathered a loud opposition from the anime and manga community.
The bill was passed in 2011 and the move to add some amendments to it was co-sponsored by three parties; the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the New Komeito Party, and the Japan Restoration Party. The proposed amendments aimed to regulate the possession of explicit materials showing children for the purpose of sexual fulfillment. While it is illegal to commit child pornography in Japan, the possession of materials relating to child pornography is not regulated and not illegal. What the amendments really seek is the regulation of these materials and the punishment to those who are caught in possession of said materials. A fine less than a million yen will be imposed with additional jail time for less than a year.
The amendments also has a provision which calls for an investigation into the relationship of anime, manga and CG images and Human Rights violations against children. This provision is what made the amendments so controversial as groups like the Japan Cartoonist Association and manga artists like Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima?!), Go Nagai (Mazinger Z) and Fuijo Fujio A (Doraemon) have called for its withdrawal. Their reasons for this is that if the government does indeed find a relationship between child pornography and anime, manga and video games, they fear that their freedom to write whatever they want (hence their freedom of speech) will be trampled on. This is because the government will also include anime, manga and video games into the regulations. Let’s just say writers really don’t like to be regulated.
In Japan, whenever a Diet session ends, bills that were not voted on are usually scrapped when the session ends, however, a bill not voted on can make it into the next session if a request is made. Six lawmakers led by LDP member Sanae Takaichi made a request to continue the deliberation of the proposed amendments to the Child Pornography law into the next National Diet. This request saves the amendments from being scrapped like the others and makes it into the next session of the Japanese Diet.
In his twitter account, Love Hina and Negima?! manga artist Ken Akamatsu says that the fight is still not over and called for more active opposition for the proposed amendments. He also says how frustrated he is that it was not scrapped and adds that it should not even have made it into the next session. Akamatsu is one of the loudest and most out spoken manga artists opposed to the recently proposed amendments.
While most manga artists, anime fans and gamers oppose some parts of the amendments, they do not oppose it in its entirety. From the statement by the Cartoonist association, they support the measures protecting the children but warn that anime and manga should not be regulated as it is an impediment to the freedom of speech.
source: Huffington Post Japan