06 June, 2009

Japanese software regulator bans rape "games"

Posted: 05 June 2009 1726 hrs

090605-1726hrs A software shop in Tokyo

TOKYO: A Japanese software industry body has decided to ban computer games in which players simulate sexual violence against females, a spokesman said.

The industry move came after a Japanese computer game maker attracted furious protests from US rights campaigners against the game "RapeLay," which lets players simulate stalking and raping young girls.

In the game players earn points for acts of sexual violence, including following girls on commuter trains, raping virgins and their mothers, and then forcing them to have abortions.

US online retailer Amazon in February took RapeLay off its websites, but the game's Yokohama-based maker Illusion brushed off the protests, saying the game was made for the domestic market and abided by laws in Japan.

The Japanese industry group the Ethics Organisation of Computer Software said it had long mulled measures to control such content which it said "deviates extremely from social norms."

The organisation will now ban all "sexual torture software" and set clear guidelines on what content should be blocked from circulating in the market, the group said in an announcement dated Thursday.

The group says it already screens almost all adult-content computer games made in Japan, and that some 90 percent of products carry its rating stickers.

The ban is a form of industry self-regulation and carries no legal weight, but it is expected to discourage most Japanese retailers from selling such games, said the spokesman.

Japan, often criticised as a major producer of child pornography, in 1999 banned the production, distribution and commercial use of sexually arousing photos, videos and other materials involving those aged under 18.

However, the law did not criminalise possession of such materials, and the ban also failed to cover child porn in animation and computer graphics, often categorised as "hentai" (pervert) content.

- AFP/vm

From ChannelNewsAsia.com; see the source article here.

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