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Capcom Protests Japanese Grand Theft Auto Restriction

Reacting to the Japanese Kanagawa prefecture's decision to classify Grand Theft Auto III as harmful material, Capc...
Reacting to the Japanese Kanagawa prefecture's decision to classify Grand Theft Auto III as harmful material, Capcom president and CEO Kenzo Tsujimoto has sent the Kanagawa officials a letter protesting the decision. The Kanagawa prefecture, which lies just south of Tokyo and includes major cities such as Yokohama and Kawasakihave, has banned stores from selling or renting Grand Theft Auto III to anyone under the age of 18, and insists that the title will have to be displayed separately from other games. Tsujimoto's arguments against the Japanese regional classification echo many anti-legislation arguments also seen in the U.S., including the view that the Japanese CERO rating system had already adequately served its purpose in warning retailers and parents that the title was inappropriate for minors. As Tsujimoto pointed out, not only did the game carry a "for 18 years or over" stickers, but another bright red sticker saying that "This video game includes violence and grotesque content." Further arguments expressed concern that Kanagawa's decision could set a precedent for limiting freedoms of speech, and that labeling games as hazardous material undermined the existing warnings the industry already employs. Tsujimoto concluded his letter with a veiled warning: "Regarding the designation of the video game by Kanagawa Prefecture..." he said, "Capcom will further examine how to cope with this issue including the possibility to take certain legal action."

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