If legislators in Japan’s smallest prefecture have their way, teenagers will soon only have an hour a day — or 90 minutes on weekends and holidays — to play video games.

That’s the report from SoraNews24, which covered the recent recommendations from a special committee of the Kagawa Prefectural Assembly. On Jan. 10, the committee put forth the draft of a law that would severely limit the gaming time of children aged 17 and younger, under the auspices of “a need for government countermeasures against video game and Internet addiction.”

In addition to the time limits, high-schoolers would be required to stop playing at 10:00 p.m., while those in younger age brackets would have to set down their controllers by 9. No penalties for breaking the law were enumerated.

Over on the Reddit thread where I learned about this proposal, someone has provided some additional context:

“This limit, although it does not have any legal penalties, is meant to make clear protecting children should be the “duty” of the guardians and schools.”

It’s an entirely symbolic act taken up by a committee in a prefectural assembly. Also, Kagawa is like the 40th largest prefecture by population [out of 47] and the smallest by land area, so it’s the equivalent of a committee in the Rhode Island state legislature proposing it. This sounds like bored local politicians pretending to be doing something.

That might be an accurate assessment, but if even a tiny state like Rhode Island did adopt similar measures in the U.S., it would be big news. It could also set the stage for wider adoption of such a law in other states or on a nationwide level. We’ve got a long ways to go before Kagawa Prefecture passes this resolution into law, but it’s something worth keeping an eye on.

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

1 COMMENTS

  1. An hour is pretty short. If they had to limit things, I think 2.5-3hrs would be a more reasonable limit. Otherwise, they could have a generation growing up not knowing anything other than quick mobile gameplay, since they didn’t have time for any traditional gaming.

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