The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly enacted an ordinance Wednesday to toughen regulations on the sale of manga and animation containing “extreme” depictions of sexual acts, despite claims from writers and publishers that it could breach freedom of expression and stifle creativity.
Publishers reacted strongly, threatening to withdraw from the 2011 Tokyo International Anime Fair, which is sponsored by the metropolitan government.
The ordinance calls on the industry to “self-regulate” to prevent people under age 18 from purchasing or accessing manga and “anime” containing depictions of rape and other sex crimes and those “unduly lauding or exaggerating” incest.
Manga the metropolitan government deems particularly malicious will be designated under the ordinance as “unhealthy books” and publishers will be banned from selling them to young people.
But the metropolitan government also added a clause stating it will give consideration to artistic and social expression and apply the ordinance carefully, although the clause is not legally binding.
The self-regulation rule takes effect April 1 and the sales restrictions July 1.
Last Friday, 10 major publishers, including Kodansha Ltd., Shueisha Inc. and Kadokawa Group Publishing Co., issued a statement saying they will refuse to take part in the internationally popular event slated to be held next March.