Piracy Politics?

Many Japanese editorials commented that the passage of the new anti-downloading law had as much to do with political PR as it did with battling piracy.

After almost a year of in-fighting the ruling Democratic Party of Japan apparently wants to give the impression that it is doing its job by passing as many bills as possible during the current session of the Diet. The anti-downloading law was a relatively easy one to push through.

Another easy one to pass, and which some are calling almost trivial, is a bill that provides funding to “stimulate” theaters and concerts halls.

The actual particulars of the law will be discussed later but, for the time being, the government has pledged to support the many theaters and concert halls built by local governments in the 1990s and which have since fallen into disuse because of the lingering recession.

The law “acknowledges that theaters and hall play a significant role in building a culturally rich society.” As of 2008, there were 1,893 such venues in Japan with at least 300 seats each.

Passage of the law was much less controversial than that of the anti-downloading bill, but still some commentators wondered out loud what’s the point, with so many local governments cutting cultural expenditures because of extremely tight budgets, not to mention the national government’s well-publicized crippling deficit.