Minoru Ogino is a member of the Japanese Assembly representing the Ota ward of Tokyo. In a recent video, Ogino was interviewed by Hanako Montgomery from VICE for a video piece titled Inside the Pedophilic Manga Industry in Japan. In the video, Montgomery interviews individuals with a breadth of opinions on the issue, including Ogino.
The video caused a buzz in the anime community on Twitter, with many users criticizing the video for possible bias. Especially because VICE restricted the video to be unavailable on YouTube by region blocking Japanese IP addresses from viewing it, one of the few things Ogino points out (mirrors of the video have since been posted to Japanese video sharing sites with Japanese subtitles).
Ogino also takes issue with whoever made the decision to make his office appear darker than it normally is, accusing VICE of making him look like a “yakuza“. In the wake of the edits and overall dissatisfaction with the way VICE chose to cover the issue, Ogino took to Twitter and seemingly called himself an idiot for choosing to accept the interview.
In the interview, Ogino takes the opinion that fictional works depicting fictional child abuse are protected by the Freedom of Expression that is enshrined in Japan’s law and that there has not been scientific evidence indicating that access to this type of manga leads to real harm. Montgomery argues back that other countries have passed laws merely for morality’s sake, but Ogino persists that such a law would not suit Japan. Australia, in particular has taken an interest in banning such material and classifying it similarly to genuine child exploitation material.
Ogino is one of the few politicians who likely have a working knowledge of this issue from a consumer standpoint. While in the video he says he doesn’t read that sort of manga himself, he’s a self-avowed “otaku” and even uses the word in his Twitter handle; making him one of the few Japanese politicians identifying with that community.