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Japanese Organization To Ban Sale of Rape Games

Japanese Organization To Ban Sale of Rape Games

May 28, 2009 | By Eric Caoili

May 28, 2009 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

Japan's Ethics Organization of Computer Software (EOCS) -- an industry organization that oversees PC game ratings in the country, and comprised of over 200 software companies -- is forbidding the retail sale and production of games created by its members that simulate forced sex, such as Illusion Soft's controversial RapeLay.

The committee's decision was spurred by a recent campaign from woman's rights group Equality Now demanding that Illusion Soft and the Japanese government prohibit the sale of games involving "rape, stalking or other forms of sexual violence or which otherwise denigrate women," according to a report from Tokyo Broadcasting System News translated by the Canned Dogs weblog.

RapeLay, which released in Japan in 2006 without an official English localization, was the subject of much outrage in February after the game was found available for sale in the West by a third-party seller through Amazon Marketplace. Equality Now, the British Parliament, and many others condemned the title for its encouragement of stalking and raping a virtual family.

Amazon and other retailers across the world removed RapeLay from their stores, but Equality Now called for more action. The organization asked its 30,000 members to write to Japanese government officials, including Prime Minister Taro Aso, and ask them to comply with Japan's obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Japanese Constitution to "eliminate works that normalize and promote sexual violence against women and girls."

The EOCS is revising its standards on the manufacturing and sale of rape games in Japan among its some 200 member companies beginning June 2nd, 2009, effectively banning them - though it is a measure enacted as part of a voluntary organization, and is not a legal change.

[Update: Canned Dogs now reports that the Ethics Organization of Computer Software says that Tokyo Broadcasting System News "misrepresented EOCS’s intended stance" with edited footage, and denied that it has set plans for banning rape games. One of the group's directors, Kanno Hiroyuki, however, says that there will be a "a meeting held on the 2nd of June where the EOCS will review their PC game software regulations."]

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