Hi Blog. Just got this yesterday from Chris Salzberg, from Global Voices Online blog:
Japan: Internet regulation up for debate, but nobody is debating
Thursday, July 12th, 2007 @ 00:59 UTC
by Hanako Tokita
While nobody was watching, an interim report drafted by a study group under the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has set down guidelines for regulation of the Internet in Japan which, according to one blogger, would extend as far as personal blogs and homepages. In the report, this “Study group on the legal system for communications and broadcasting”, headed by Professor Emeritus at Hitotsubashi University Horibe Masao, discusses the possibility of applying the exising Broadcast Law to the sphere of the Internet to regulate, under government enforcement, what gets on the web. The report also suggests that public comments be sought on the issue, in response to which the ministry has opened a space on their webpage for the public to submit comments, available in the period between June 20th and July 20th.
Despite the obvious significance of the proposed regulation, neither media nor the majority of bloggers are aware of its existence. The most detailed coverage of the issue has been provided by tokyodo-2005, a former journalist, now a lawyer and prolific blogger on media related issues, who has (at time of writing this) already posted seven entries on the topic. In these blog entries, he warns that this legislation would be applied not only to general websites but also to personal blogs and home pages. The report advises, he cites, that contents found illegal based on the significance of their activity (表現活動の価値) would be outside the scope of protections on freedom of expression as specified in the Japanese Constitution; therefore, it is claimed, there would be no constitutional issue with regulating such content….
Excerpt ends. I don’t want to produce Hanako’s whole post, so go to http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2007/07/12/japan-internet-regulation-up-for-debate-but-nobody-is-debating/ to see all the links and source documents.
I wonder if this is related in some way to the whole 2-Channel debacle, and how they’ve been losing in court for libel for years now and getting away with it. So now the regulations come in. Let’s hope the even keel holds, especially in a “Nanny State” like Japan’s. The Few Bad Apples Syndrome strikes again…
Send your comments to the government. There’s still some time. Debito in Sapporo