Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The AJA addresses the Tokyo Youth Ordinance

On December 15th, the bill in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, simply dubbed "Bill 156", for the revisions to amendments for the Tokyo Youth Healthy Development Ordinance had gone through a full assembly vote and passed. Clauses will officially go into effect in April of 2011, while regulations of sales will commence in July 2011. According to ANN:
Bill 156 would require the industry to also regulate "manga, anime, and other images (except for real-life photography)" that "unjustifiably glorify or exaggerate" certain sexual or pseudo sexual acts. Another section of the revised bill would allow the government to directly regulate the above images if the depicted acts are also "considered to be excessively disrupting of social order" such as rape.
As we had reported before, the "Comic 10-Shakai", an association of ten publishing companies (Kadokawa Shoten, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Kodansha, Akita Shoten, Hakusensha, Shonen Gahousha, Shinchosha, Futabasha, LEED Publishing Co., Ltd.), had threatened to boycott the Tokyo International Anime Fair held in March 2011. As of right now, the protest is still to be held, and the Comic 10-Shakai is looking to even prevent the sales and handling of their trademarks at TIAF, leaving the event's status in the air.

To show that they aren't bluffing, the Comic 10-Shakai has gotten support and defense from the Association of Japanese Animations (AJA). The organization, helmed by Takayuki Matsutani of Tezuka Productions, has provided a press release regarding the matter, expressing concern that the TIAF situation will become "virtually unenforceable" if things were to continue.

The following is an unofficial translation of the press release provided by the AJA in response to the issue.

December 21, 2010
To all press relations:

Regarding the revisions to the Tokyo
Youth Health Development Ordinance

The Association of Japanese Animations

As you may well know, the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly adopted and passed a revision of the Tokyo Metropolitan Youth Health Development Ordinance on the 15th of this month.

Under the revisions made to this Ordinance, the sales of manga and animation will be regulated, and the content of expression will also be subjected to regulation.

However, due to the ambiguity of the subjects and requirements for regulation, we must say that, in light of the spirit of the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution, this poses a large problem.

Along with this, the production companies that produce animation that are subject to regulation under the revision to this Ordinance feel that the measure was unilaterally passed without any procedures, such as announcements and hearings, made towards our association for the industrial group assured under the Constitution for our freedom of expression as visual expressionists, despite their necessity from the standpoint of protection of due process of law provided by the Constitution.

For these reasons, our association believes the revisions to this Ordinance to be extremely regrettable.

Also, in regards to the manga similarly subjected to regulation by the revisions to this Ordinance, the Comic 10-Shakai and a good many other groups have expressed their intent to protest and oppose the revisions to this Ordinance.

Not only is this extremely valid from the standpoint of defending the freedom of expression for manga artists, but under the current conditions that the contents of the regulations due to the revisions to the Ordinance are ambiguous and that there have been no formal procedures, our association supports this statement by agreeing with the protest and opposition from the Comic 10-Shakai.

The Comic 10-Shakai have expressed their consistent refusal to help with the "2010 Tokyo International Anime Fair" and to attend it. However, they feel the Tokyo International Anime Fair is a wonderful event that communicates the value of Japanese animations to the world and has credentials towards increasing its value, and they hope that it will be held as normal.

However, the non-participation and non-cooperation of the Comic 10-Shakai would mean that it would be extremely difficult to maintain the quality that the Tokyo International Anime Fair has had up until now, due to the inability to avoid the withdrawal of a large number of exhibits from participating companies, and that it would lead to a delicate situation that may not be able to measure up to the expectations of the visitors.

Since our association has entrusted responsibilities to the Tokyo International Anime Fair's organizers and is not the event's host, it is not our position to make a judgment regarding whether or not to postpone the event. However, as a party that holds responsibilities towards operations, we must say that it will become a virtually unenforceable situation if things continue to go this way.

Much like many of the fans who love animation, we deeply regret this sort of situation, and we, as an organization that has served the organizers of the Tokyo International Anime Fair for many years, would like everyone to understand our disappointment.

We shall continue to monitor the situation regarding the status of the TIAF and Bill 156's enactment. Both matters can be explained in more detail at the following sites:

Brian Ruh, Brain Diving. "Youth Brigade: Clearing up the Youth Ordinance Bill".
Dan Kanemitsu, Dan Kanemitsu's Paper Trail.

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