Stifling Content That Has Openness -- Japan's Government Passes Potentially Potent Content Control Regulations

promoted by roxy -- original publication date/time: 2008-04-17 01:56:46 -1000

Japan is well known for its love of technology, and is referred to in an AsiaMedia article as "one of the world's most vibrant internet cultures and arguably its biggest blogosphere" -- so it was no wonder that AsiaMedia reports that many people were puzzled by the lack of response to a set of proposed regulations that were passed recently and will be put to Parliament in 2010.

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What is most alarming, critics contend, is the decision to target kozensei -- an ambiguous term meaning "content that has openness". That would almost certainly make millions of currently unregulated services, including blogs, personal websites and bulletin boards, eligible for forcible correction or closure.
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The Japanese government, of course, insists that this effort is simply to regulate "harmful and illegal content" -- apparently nothing to do with the expansion of the internet that, according the AsiaMedia article, has become "a bastion of rigorous political and social debate of the like that Japan -- and its uneasy Government -- has never seen before." The ruling party there is called the "Liberal Democratic" party, but they look and act an awful lot like today's "conservative" Republicans here in America, with nothing particularly "liberal" nor "democratic" about what some in Japan are calling their efforts "to stifle dissent and exert complete control over political expression."

Cited in the article, Kazuo Hizumi -- who blogs on media issues -- stated "As long as government supervision is permitted, Japan's freedom of expression will be nothing more than that of a communist country or dictatorship."

It sounds a bit like a trend that the current US government, the Bush Administration and their conservative cronies in Congress, would love to reinforce and build upon in here.

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and know zip about consumer culture, but do you suppose that in Japan as in America, everyone's attention is elsewhere?

Dunno. Was in Phoenix last week and the consumer mentality seemed to be gushing unabated. Nobody seemed to be concerned or talking about much of anything else. Sad.

But it was certainly puzzling, according to the folks in the know, that there wasn't more outburst/outrage over it.

not the case. It would be a good topic to ask Misha about to see if we can get more background on where this is coming from and possibly going in the future.

ping Mishima, and ask if there's to all this...it'd be good to have the perspective of someone who's on the ground there.