Japan’s Women’s Institute of Contemporary Media Culture previously made some statements in response to the United Nations requesting of Japan to ban video games, manga and anime containing sexual violence against women. However, the response was located on the WICMC website. The more official response from Japan’s United Nations delegation drafted up an official response that was issued during the conclusion of the seminary on March 7th.
The official treatise response from the Japanese delegation for the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (also known as CEDAW) that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, was published along with the other responses from the various nations that took part in the convention.
You can read the full Japanese response (published in English) with the CEDAW PDF document here. The official committee response is a lot more subtle than the more brash WICMC response that came out a few days ago. According to the representatives from Japan, they issued a response in regards to what Japan would do to address the request from the U.N., to ban material containing sexual violence against women, as portrayed in manga, anime and video games. The response reads…
“Concerning video games and films, self-imposed regulation by the industry and its independent rating organizations have been carried out through ratings and reviews of such media containing sexually explicit and violent scenes or scenes including anti-social behavior, to ensure that ethically inappropriate games and films are not distributed.
“In 46 prefectures, ordinances have been enacted, and a list of books designated as detrimental has been created to regulate the reading/browsing of such material by youths and the sale of such material to youths.”
[…] “To reduce browsing by youths of harmful information on the Internet including pornography, the GOJ [Government of Japan] implements measures to improve youths’ Internet literacy by providing information, raising awareness, and promoting the use of filtering services.“
In other words: Japan won’t be banning video games, anime or manga that contains sexual violence against women.
The response is very pedantic and extremely diplomatic, avoiding getting into any personal nuance or cultural delineations. Instead, they simply focus on the fact that they have laws in place for obscene material and they have enforcement setup to deal with things such as child pornography. Beyond that they don’t seem to show any interest in changing the laws or rules they have setup beyond what was instituted recently in 2014 to deal with child pornography.
As mentioned, this is a very different kind of response than the one issued by the Japan’s Women’s Institute of Contemporary Media Culture. It’s a lot less… culturally charged.
The entire committee regarding the treatment of women in Japanese society (amongst other countries that were participating in the convention as well), actually consisted of some very thorough questions from the United Nations regarding a number of noteworthy topics, spanning the likes of sex trafficking to workplace equality, as well as services, benefits and domestic abuse laws and mandates.
It’s interesting that the United Nations led their original committee announcement with concerns over video games, manga and anime, but a lot of the questions and concerns raised during the CEDAW convention was actually a lot more serious issues than the rights of fictional game characters. Technically the whole thing about video games was a complete throwaway and it seems as if it served no purpose being included in the list of more serious topics such as child pornography, sex trafficking and the treatment of the elderly in Japanese society.
Regardless, the issue has been addressed by the Japanese both from their cultural institution and from their diplomatic party. Despite the vastly different approach that both groups have taken to address the issue, the reality is that Japan is not going to budge at all when it comes to widely banning anime, manga or video games that may contain sexual violence.