KANAZAWA, Ishikawa Pref. (Kyodo) The Ishikawa Prefectural Assembly passed an ordinance Monday obliging parents to make efforts not to give their children cell phones if they are of elementary or junior high school age.

The measure, to be enforced in January, will be the first local ordinance in Japan aimed at restricting cell phone possession by children. The ordinance does not carry any penalties.

Assembly members from the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito argued that protection of young children from the potentially harmful uses of cell phones is necessary.

Opponents have said cell phone ownership should be decided individually at home and at school, including through dialogue with children.

The prefectural government plans to ask local boards of education, as well as parents and teachers associations for their cooperation.

It will also try to make parents and related companies more receptive to the move through explanations and leaflets.

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