(TOKYO) -- A Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly ordinance restricting the distribution of sexually-explicit manga comics or anime threatens to cancel one of the world's largest anime, or animation, fairs.
The ordinance, approved Wednesday, makes it illegal to sell or rent manga or anime depicting "extreme" sex acts, including rape and incest, to readers under the age of 18. The ordinance also bans images of characters that appear to be underage and are engaging in sexual acts.
The new law only applies to the Tokyo metropolitan area, but the debate over it has gotten so heated that even Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan felt the need to weigh in on his blog earlier this week.
"Sound upbringing of youth is an important subject," Kan wrote. "But it is important to export Japanese animation to the world. I would like to see those concerned cooperate to avoid any possible situation that would hinder Tokyo from hosting an international anime fair."
A group of 10 major manga publishers has already released a joint statement expressing its intention to withdraw from the fair.
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