TAKAMATSU — An ordinance calling on households to limit the time young people spend on video games to one hour per day to help curb internet and video game addictions was passed by the Kagawa Prefectural Assembly in western Japan on March 18.
The ordinance calls on households in the prefecture to aim for a limit of 60 minutes per day of video game time on school days for those aged under 18. There is no punishment for failing to abide by the guideline, but residents will be required to strive toward it as a responsibility.
It is the first time in Japan a local council has passed such an ordinance and it will go into effect on April 1.
The ordinance outlines the responsibilities of the prefectural government, schools and parents in preventing video game and internet addictions. As a rough guide for household rules, it states those aged under 18 should spend no more than 60 minutes on video games per day, except for holidays, when the recommended limit is 90 minutes.
In addition, parents are asked not to let children of elementary and junior high school age or younger use smartphones after 9 p.m., and to make sure high school students do not use them after 10 p.m.
The Kagawa Prefectural Assembly formed a committee to start considering the ordinance in September 2019, and began preparing to bring a stricter version of it into effect. However, in the wake of criticism that it was interfering in domestic matters, the ordinance bill was partially revised, changing the proposed “restriction” on the use of smartphones and other devices to a “creation of rules in households,” and altering the term “standard” in relation to time limits to “rough guide.”
(Japanese original by Yukinao Kin, Takamatsu Bureau)
Members of the Kagawa Prefectural Assembly in the western Japan city of Takamatsu stand to support the ordinance during a vote on the morning of March 18, 2020, while those opposing it remain seated. (Mainichi/Yukinao Kin)