Major console makers such as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are considering self-regulating game sales to minors after Kanagawa prefecture designated the Playstation 2 game “Grand Theft Auto 3” to be a “harmful publication” under its Prefectural Youth Protection and Development Law because of its extreme brutality. The entire game industry is responding to the recent strengthening of public regulations, and strategies such as requiring identification when customers try to buy games suggested for those over 18 are being considered.
The Distribution Committee of the industry group “Computer Entertainment Association” (Koei President Kiyoshi Komatsu, Committee Chairman) is collaborating with game makers and sellers on the issue of self-regulation. One maker explained, “We need rules regarding the regulation of sales, but we would like the content of games to remain at the discretion of the industry.”
Many local governments have moved to regulate game sales after it was reported that the youth suspect in the murder of a teacher at an elementary school in Neyagawa, Osaka, on Feb. 14 was deeply into an action game involving the killing of zombies. Governor Narufumi Matsuzawa of Kanagawa expressed his intention to regulate games containing brutality at the press conference announcing the new law. Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara has publicly agreed with him, calling the regulation “quite an idea”.