Just another truce
So it seems that all hell won't be breaking loose just yet. Thanks to an unprecedented mobilization of the cream of the crop in all things manga (artists, publishers, critics, professors and more), the Minshutō majority in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly announced yesterday that they would push for a postponement of the vote on the “juvenile nonentities” (hijitsuzai seishounen) reform proposal and a reexamination thereof. Their allies are expected to support the motion as well. The Jimintō-Komeitō minority, who introduced the reform bill to begin with, does not seem prepared to back down, but if votes go along party lines (and since public announcements have been made, it is likely that they will), they should be overruled during Friday's debates.
It is a bit early to claim victory yet, however. Here is what the Minshutō announcement says:
Until the criteria for material to be restricted are spelled out in an enforcement ordinance, a vote on the reform proposal is premature.
While this might be strongly worded by the standards of Tokyo politics, it does little to address the real problems with the proposal—that fiction is being unduly censored to begin with. While the language in the current proposal is indeed dangerously vague, it is difficult to think of a way to make it precise that wouldn't still have a major chilling effect on the contents industry at large. Among other things, which I might get into in more details during the week-end (I was planning to go to the Comiket Special event in Mito, but all hotels and inns in the area have been fully booked for a while, so I may end up blogging instead).
In the meantime, I'd like to share with you this editorial from the 50th issue of LO. It appeared just two years ago, in the midst of fierce campaigning for a lolicon ban by Agnes Chan and other extremists during the discussions of child pornography laws in the Diet. The newspeak keyword at the time was “half child porn” (jun jidou porno). In the end, child porn laws were strengthened, but fiction narrowly escaped. It was set to be reconsidered in 2011. Yet, no later than last year did the raging lobbyists hype up American drama over Rapelay to get it back on the Diet agenda, and while they still didn't get a law passed (with their Jimintō friends wiped away in general elections), they obtained stringer regulations of eroge from the EOCS. And now this fuss in Tokyo Prefecture. They won't leave us alone, eh. So, here goes the message from LO editors—in half jest as usual, but still half serious.
50 issues. We may only have been around for so long. Everything could be taken from us tomorrow. That's the way it is for LO.
We don't have a right to be around. We can only live on secretly in some wishful hamlet far away. That's the way it is for loli manga, I suppose.
And yet, throughout those 50 issues, LO has received the support of many mangaka and many readers. They sent us their prayers of peace on our wishful world.
Reality, on the other hand, is not all beautiful, and we often serve as scapegoats for its ugliness. So let's try at least to go on for a little while, and continue to prove, day after day, that lolicon too can live proper, beautiful lives.
Let us live our lives today, not in fear of tomorrow. And pray for the happiness of all the children in our wishful world and in reality.