Video Game Playing Time Restriction Not Unconstitutional, Claims Kagawa Governor

Video Game Playing Time Restriction Not Unconstitutional, Claims Kagawa Governor

In a press conference on Monday, Kagawa Governor, Keizō Hamada said that he did not believe that the recent ordinance restricting video game playing time among children was unconstitutional.

His statement was in response to a lawsuit filed by a mother and her 17-year-old son against the Kagawa Prefecture in May, who claimed that the ordinance is "unconstitutional" and "violates fundamental human rights."

"It is my understanding that the ordinance does not violate the stipulations or the spirit of the law," he said. "Going forward, I believe that we will be investigating the proper way to respond to the lawsuit after confirming its contents."

Hamada said that the filing of the lawsuit will not change the decision because of the nature of the plaintiff who is a high school student and that proper judgement will be taken in accordance with the law. He also said that efforts are currently being undertaken to reach an understanding.

The plaintiffs are seeking 1.54 million yen (approximately US$14,300) in damages. In July, they successfully reached their crowdfunding goal of 5 million yen for the lawsuit (approximately US$46,500).

The ordinance took effect on April 1, following discussions in the assembly and a majority vote. It aims to combat video game addiction and marks the first time a local government in Japan has set guidelines restricting video game device and smartphone usage.

The guidelines restrict children under the age of 18 to 60 minutes of video game playing or smartphone usage per weekday and 90 minutes on weekends. It also forbids children under the age of 18 from using game devices after 10 pm, or 9 pm for children under the age of 12.

The law has been opposed to democratic principles. Even though the prefecture has no plans to enforce penalties on households that do not agree with the ordinance, it asks that households apply rules under their own discretion. The Kagawa Bar Association had requested an immediate repeal of the ordinance in late May.


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