IGN is reporting that a new research group has been formed in Japan to evaluate the effects of anime, video games and other influences on children.
Somewhat surprisingly, the research group is under the control of Japan's National Police Agency. Yutaka Takehana - formerly the deputy governor of Tokyo - chairs the group, which held its first meeting on April 10th. Participating in the study are 15 educational and psychological specialists.
The formation of the research group comes in the wake of a change in Japan's CERO rating system which went into effect in March. At that time CERO introduced a series of five ratings for games - A (all ages), B (12 and up), C (15 and up), D (17 and up) and Z (18 and up). Ratings A through D are advisory only, whereas Z has the force of law behind it.
The ratings shift followed Grand Theft Auto 3 - published in Japan by Capcom - being banned for sale to under-18's in two Japanese prefectures last year. The police research group hopes to release its findings during summer of 2006.
AM: It will be interesting to see another culture's take on the effects of games on children. Could anime be bad for kids? Perhaps...
-Reporting from a long way south of Japan, GP Australian Correspondent Alex 'BeardedFerret' Morris