High School Student Sues Kagawa Prefecture for Gaming Limit Ordinance

High School Student Sues Kagawa Prefecture for Gaming Limit Ordinance Others

A high school student filed a lawsuit against Kagawa Prefecture to Takamatsu District Court on September 30 (Wed).

The plaintiffs are Wataru, a 17 years-old high school student, and his mother.

Wataru set up a crowdfunding campaign to collect more than 6 million yen as a cost of the suit.

What is the Gaming Limit Ordinance of Kagawa Prefecture?

The ordinance was put into force on April 1 to restrict game time of kids under 18 years-old to 60 minutes a day (90 minutes a holiday).

Also, it recommends parents to limit their child’s gaming to 22:00 PM (21:00 PM for elementary and junior high school students).

Kagawa Prefecture Ordinance the 24th

Problems Pointed Out about the Ordinance

Kagawa Bar Association (KABEN), official lawyer association in Kagawa, made an announcement on May 25 to require repeal of the Ordinance.

About the ordinance, KABEN pointed out lack of legislative facts the ordinance based on.

The preamble of the ordinance says that overuse of the internet and computer games causes decline of kids’ physical and academic abilities.

Also, it mentions gaming disorder which is defined in ICD-11 by WHO and insists that the disorder is regarded as a major problem in and out of the country.

But KABEN says they cannot see the fact that academic abilities of kids in Kagawa are inferior to the national average due to overuse of the internet or computers, and added that it doesn’t seem addiction to the internet and games is treated as a major social problem in Kagawa.

In addition, KABEN points out it is possible that the ordinance violates Article 13 of the Constitution of Japan.

High School Student Files Lawsuit against Prefecture

Wataru, a high school student in Kagawa, collected 595 signatures against the ordinance and submitted them to Kagawa Prefectural Assembly in January, 2020.

It couldn’t change the situation and the ordinance passed in March.

Consulting a lawyer, Wataru decided to file a lawsuit against Kagawa Prefecture and started crowdfunding of lawsuit cost on a crowdfunding site.

As a result, he succeeded to collect more than 6 million yen from 1844 supporters.

On September 30, he announced on his Twitter account that he would go to court in this afternoon.

On his crowdfunding page, he listed up the points of this lawsuit:

  • It is not clear where some of the public comments came from.
  • Kagawa Prefectural Assembly didn’t use suitable investigation reports to decide game time in the ordinance, and there is no minutes of discussions concerning the ordinance.
  • It is possible that the ordinance violates Article 13 of the Constitution of Japan.

Finally, he pointed out lack of scientific basis in the Ordinance.

He mentioned to WHO’s comment:

Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities.

(It seems that he read the comment translated to Japanese on Wikipedia.)

Many of Japanese media have reported his activities including the Mainichi Newspapers, Netolabo and Bengo4.com.