Japan software firm shrugs off rape game protests

May 08, 2009

A Japanese computer game maker on Friday dismissed a protest by US rights campaigners against the game "RapeLay", which lets players simulate sexual violence against females.

New York-based Equality Now launched a campaign this week "against rape simulator games and the normalisation of sexual violence in Japan".

It urged activists to write in protest to the maker and Prime Minister Taro Aso, arguing the game breaches Japan's obligations under the 1985 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The Yokohama-based games manufacturer Illusion brushed off the campaign.

"We are simply bewildered by the move," said spokesman Makoto Nakaoka. "We make the games for the domestic market and abide by laws here. We cannot possibly comment on (the campaign) because we don't sell them overseas."

Players earn points for acts of sexual violence, including stalking girls on commuter trains, raping virgins and their mothers, and forcing females to get abortions, according to the group's online statement.

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).

US online retail giant Amazon in February took RapeLay off its websites after receiving complaints but clips of the game were still available this week on popular websites.

A Japan Committee for UNICEF spokeswoman said the Japanese loophole hindered international efforts to crack down on child porn.

"In this globalised world, connected via the Internet, even one loophole could jeopardise all the regulations," she said. "The world trend is to try to ban even the accessing and looking at websites of virtual images."

A spokeswoman for the Japanese government's gender equality bureau said the office "realises the problem is there".

"While we recognise that some sort of measures need to be taken, the office is currently studying what can be done," she said.

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 5

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OBSL33t
4 / 5 (1) May 08, 2009
Hmmm. Let me just copy down the name of this game.

. . . For research purposes.

Yeah.

;p

But seriously, It's just a game.

A game that can't be worse than most of the other Jap sex sims out there.

Besides, playing games is victimless.

There has never been strong evidence to support that playing violent games causes a person to behave violently.

In fact, most studies show that those who commit violent acts would do so weather they played a video game or not.

And this really is such a double standard.

Grand Theft Auto has you driving around shooting, running over people, buying and killing prostitutes, but it's always at the top of the U.S. sales charts.

The U.S. has no right to tell Japan or any other country which brands of violence are ok or not just because it disturbs some of our cultural taboos.
Zac
5 / 5 (1) May 08, 2009
just because it disturbs some of our cultural taboos.


While I agree that a game is just a game, and more importantly, a form of expression, which we guarantee freedom for in our Constitution, I have to say, I can't think of anything more distasteful than describing rape as a "cultural taboo."
TheEyeofTheBeholder
3 / 5 (2) May 08, 2009
WOW, that is quite disturbing, if this company does not see the fatally wrong thinking going on, there is no way I can support this company in any shape or form. BOYCOTT Yokohama-based games manufacturer Illusion! That game could be based on your mother, sister, or girlfriend, you sick puppy.
dirk_bruere
not rated yet May 08, 2009
Japan has probably the safest streets and the most violent media in the world. When I was there a few years ago I watched a kids TV channel where they had some old lady being strangled with piano wire by the hero. I was told it was OK because she was evil. Later I was in a bookstore and opened the centrefold of a "mens" magazine. No nudie - just car crash of the week. Like, where's the head? A paradoxical nation.
TheTim
5 / 5 (1) May 09, 2009
After living in Japan, I have to side with the game company. Yes, their comics and video games to relate a very high amount of violence, and a lot of sexual violence at that. However, sex crimes are phenomenally low, considering the amount of violent sexual imagery available.

The only rape cases I heard of while I was there were done by US Marines in Okinawa...