Tokyo's Virtual Child Porn Bill Delayed

What do you think happened after some of Japan's most famous manga creators showed opposition to a Tokyo proposal that sets out to ban provocative "visual depictions" of characters who appear to be 18 years-old and younger?

The Asahi Shimbun reports that the bill has been put on hold. Manga artists Go Nagai, Tetsuya Chiba and Machiko Satonaka appeared at the Tokyo Government Office on March 15 to show their opposition to the proposed legislation.

As Kotaku pointed out previously, Nagai and Chiba are two of the most well-known living mangaka (manga creators) with Nagai responsible for magical girl manga Cutie Honey and robot manga Mazinger Z and Chiba for iconic boxing manga Ashita no Joe. Shojo manga creator Machiko Satonaka received a Lifetime Works and Cultural Activities award from the Japanese government. All three are big time, mainsteam Japanese mangaka, and their opposition to this proposed legislation shows just how unpopular it is with the manga industry.

At the March 15 meeting, Chiba told those gathered that the proposed legislation can be "freely" interpreted and would affect manga character "despite no living beings being hurt".

The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly will not vote on the bill this month, but will instead continue to deliberate on the proposal. Those who are against the bill have criticized how it limits artistic freedom. It is important to also note that it isn't only manga creators or computer game creators who are against this bill, but Japanese politicians as well. Limiting the freedom of artists has much larger implications.

Kotaku has pointed out that the proposal, submitted on February 24, would amend the Metropolitan Tokyo youth welfare law on child pornography and limit the manner in which "nonexistent youths" are represented as well as clauses that call for the filtering of images of minors online and via mobile phone. The "visual depictions" are understood to encompass underage characters in manga, anime, computer games and video games — i.e., virtual characters.

(朝日新聞社):漫画の性描写、都規制案 結論先送りの方向 - 社会 [Asahi via ANN]