Tokyo seeking stricter laws to protect minors
November 1, 2003
TOKYO — The Tokyo Metropolitan Government asked its sound-upbringing council Tuesday to deliberate on a drastic revision of its juvenile protection ordinance, a government official said.
The request comes as sex-related and other crimes involving minors continue to increase in Japan.
Current law prohibits minors from entering overnight entertainment facilities such as bowling alleys or movie theaters after 11 p.m.
However, that is not enough to keep minors away from nightlife districts, said Yoshiharu Matsubara of the government’s Juvenile Affairs Office.
“We seek something more workable,” he said.
The government also seeks to impose stricter regulations on the sales of pornographic or violent literature and videos to minors.
Sexual and violent comic books can be bought from vending machines that require a driver’s license, but Matsubara said not all machines have been equipped with the device.
“The current ordinance is not effective to keep youth from access to these harmful books,” he said.
After receiving a proposed draft from the council, the government plans to submit a bill to the metropolitan assembly in February to change the 39-year-old ordinance, he said.
Matsubara noted that supervision by parents and other adults is needed more than stricter regulations.
“We hope that a revision of the ordinance will help to increase the awareness of parents and society of their responsibilities in the upbringing of children,” he said.