Photo: Pakutaso

Lawyers say Japanese video game time ban for kids violates constitution

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

On April 1, in what sounded like a third-rate April Fools’ Day joke but was actually an official act of government, Kagawa Prefecture passed an ordinance officially limiting the amount of time children are legally allowed to play video games each day. Under the new law, minors must not play video games for more than 60 minutes on weekdays, and must keep their play time under 90 minutes per day on weekends. They’re also not allowed to use a smartphones after 9 or 10 p.m. (depending on the child’s age), with the exception that if they’re using the device to study, then they can go as late as they want.

The ordinance, which is the first of its kind in Japan, has been controversial for a number of reasons. Initially proposed only in January, it was put into effect with startling speed, with the process including a supposed “public opinion collection” which was marred by accusations of dummy accounts sending multiple messages supporting the law from the same IP address and the Kagawa government reporting one of its PCs had gone missing shortly thereafter. The timing of the ban coinciding with a nationwide state of emergency was also criticized, as critics believed that at least allowing kids to play games would help remove the temptation to go hang out with their friends at a time when health officials were urging people to stay at home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier this month, the ban received its first direct legal challenge as a mother and son living in Kagawa announced their plans to file a lawsuit against the prefectural government. Now an even more formidable player is joining the fight, as the Kagawa Bar Association has issued a statement calling for the abolition of the ban.

The organization of lawyers believes the ban can be interpreted as a violation of Article 13 of Japan’s constitution. The statement, issued by Kagawa Bar Association head Yoichi Tokuda, says that the gaming ban’s insistence that “parents have a legal obligation to make an effort to limit their children’s video game play time” is lacking in legal basis. While the ban doesn’t set any penalties for a lack of compliance, the Kagawa Bar Association feels that the prefectural government is overstepping its authority by constructing a framework in which parents are technically criminals if they don’t track/enforce limits on how much time their kids are playing games.

In addition, the association feels that the ban is an infringement on the right to self-determination provided by the constitution, and also that it contradicts the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. So with its decision on such shaky legal grounds, perhaps it would be best for the Kagawa prefectural government to explore other ways to achieve its goal of limiting kids’ passion for video games.

Source: via Livedoor News via Otakomu

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese politicians want to set daily limit on how much time kids can spend playing video games

-- Mayor of Osaka wants to legally control when kids can and can’t use smartphones in their own home

-- Professional female shogi player wows Internet by cosplaying as cute anime shogi player

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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6 ( +6 / -0 )

When my son was a kid, he wanted to play video games. "Sure," I said, "this is your life and your time. But I will not give you a single yen to support this."

He saved his money and bought a PS2 and a few games but soon tired of them. Ironically, he's now working in that industry in Los Angeles.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It's the parents responsibility to manage their childrens game time, not any form of government.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I don’t know why, but this ban just seems so North Korean or Chinese in its dictatorshipness.

It is not the federal government’s (old people) place to dictate games.

There are professional gamers and in the future they will be as popular as Ronaldo and Michael Jordan.

Sport and E Sport is big and will get bigger.

Can we perhaps put a ban on how many cartoon porn magazines an old man should buy too then?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

What we need is a law to limit the number of stupid authoritarians in government. Did they even use any scientific research as a basis for the law? No? Just public opinion? And all they had to do was make a suggestion in the form of a guideline and maybe put it on a website and get schools to discuss the guidelines in PTA meetings. They did not need to make a ban like a wannabe monarch.

There are real problems with video games and yes, one of them is too much play at the expense of exercise, social activity and experience of the real physical world. And those tiny screens are destroying kids' eyesight. I know. My son's eyes were perfect. He lives with my stupid wife and we live separately and she was too dumb and thoughtless to tell me she got him one. When I found out I got him his own TV to connect to but it was too late. I had to go buy him glasses too because my wife is too stupid to even notice he needed them.

Can we perhaps put a ban on how many cartoon porn magazines an old man should buy too then?

How bizarre to make the accusation the game ban seems North Korean and then offer an even more fascist suggestion. In the face of children playing games where they are mostly killing people brutally, you want a fascist crackdown on old men enjoying cartoon sexual fantasies. Please establish some logical priorities.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

When I was a kid, my parents "dictated" when I could watch TV at home, and no one ever thought or considered making a "law" regulating what I could nor could not do and when, regarding watching TV.

Being a parent means having to be a "dictator" at times, it's for the health and welfare of the child, and anytime the government has to create a "law" to back them up, there are some serious problems in society!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

How about educating parents? It may even be that parents need the kids out of their hair during the day for a while. How about both parents being at home more hours? The gov't needs to tighten the collars on companies who hold a tight grip on men's time in the office. I agree gov't has to take a more active hand but not in the home.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Even today, children are considered the resposibility of their parents as adults for them to teach, train, educate, and "control" till such time as that child/children are of what they the society and parents consider as adults "responsible" enough for themselves to take care of themselves. That is why there are laws that "require" parents to "care" for their children. That basically indicates that parents must be "responsible" for 1) bringing the child to life, 2) assure health, safety, and well-being, 3) properly taught life's necessities and values such as meeting personal "responsibilities"(morals) and family/social responsibilities (ethics), 4) given the tools such as laguage, knowledge, tyaining, etc. to not only survive, but survive within the community and the rest of the world.

In any society, when parents "fail" to do that, the family, the community or the society either takes advantage of that child (as in gangs) or "cares" (care-homes, etc.) "teaches" and "develops" that child to be responsible to him/herself as well as the society in which he/she is a part.

When parents may not be failing to care for the child physically and educationally but "ignores" the "influence" of outside sources such as their teachers at school, their friends, social media and even games which can now access that child in more ways than one, taking "control" of thought, speech and action which "may" be harmful to that child (who may not have the value systems to be able to protect and think for him/herself) and "prevents" the needed so called education which the government has taken over to relieve some of that responsibility from parents, the government becomes "involved" for 2 reasons. 1) That child as adult may become unable to adjust to that society. 2) That child may become a harmful burden to parents, family and society.

The problem is there is no real statistical data to say what influence such games and long hours of playing such games have on children (emotionally, mentally, and physically over a short period to long-term. On top of that one must also determine the length of time such games affect and effect children and from what ages. One can imagine the data that could be had on adults that play the "pachinko" and many that are now playing games on their smartphones. It will be extremely difficult to determine the affect and effect.

However, there is enough data gathered by the social media and internet providers of such games of the effectiveness of keeping the children and adults from all ages. They "design" their games and their sites to "capture" all users to get more revenue. All that without "tax" revenue for the governments.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All I can say about any constitution is that the words "freedom" and "rights" declared are but what that government had determined and declared in writing as given and allowed by that government based upon the principle that the members of that society are "responsible" and have the same "ethical and moral values" upon which it's philosophy and principles are based. Then most laws are negative to "control" and "assure" by "prevention" such thoughs, speech and action which are contrary and harmful to that society for which it was written. Because such laws must be "enforceable", it must take "physical" action using some kind of "force". Such force can be fines, confinement, and other forms of what we consider as "punishment"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Constitution that can be re-interpreted at will, just ask the LDP.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Stupid to even get up in arms ver such nonsense. There is literally no possible way to enforce it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It was a stupid idea in the first place and a complete waste of time and money to even suggest it.

But like any other law in Japan, where nothing is enforced anyway, did it really matter if it was legal or not?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So does forcing kids to wear mask at schools but I guess no one will do anything until we have massive amounts of kids getting heat stroke.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is up to a parent and not the government to state what a child should or should not be doing. I refuse to buy my son any games until his marks and studies come up, full-stop. Monday to Thursday prior to school being out zero tv only from Friday to Sunday and even than limited.

I do not need no government body telling me what I can or cannot do with my child regulating what he can or cannot do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

hey look im not in favor of children endlessly playing computer games, in our house my wife is the constitution. if the kids want to play computer games they have to finish their homework and chores first. they get X amount of minutes each day, if they do extra chores they get more minutes, they dont do enough they get minutes deducted. their rooms have never looked cleaner. LOL

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OK, just tell me how on earth are they going to enforce this? is big brother going to monitor how much time a house hold is online ( this is if a child is playing a game that's interactive ) but if its one coming machine per house hold, the child might have gone to bed but the parents take over, how do you differentiate between them? and what if your monitored, and they see you playing "snipper killer" for example, could the child say well I want to join the military latter on in life and its research into what guns are and how to use them, so its research. some people just sit in an office thinking of silly thing to do, to justify there job, and I think this is just a prime example of this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's more of a "we did enact a law, if your kids are still addicted, then it's your fault" gesture that Japanese politicians love to do, so no blames will fall on them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Artemis Rogers

Sarcasm and Irony are clearly lost on you man. LOL

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It even tougher these days to be a Parent, the Law is generally against you in many ways, and now... by implication - restricting Game time for Kids, could potentially be seen as an infringement of this argument !

Invest in Condom makers - no one will ever wish to have Kids going forward at this rate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Group of Lawyers found a new case to earn.

Gaming is not bad within limit, but our kids became addicted which are unacceptable.

Since parent can't strongly stop them as govt. might see that as child abuse.

Japan is law abiding country, so to protect parents right to stop gaming or limit for kids, govt has to assist parent with law.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This makes as much sense as the Gov't telling me how many times I can wear the same t-shirt at home per week. I mean they can say it, but might as well beat a dead stick with a horse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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