TPP

Thousands sign petition against TPP’s supposed copyright conditions

A few months ago, it was reported that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement may contain changes to copyright laws that many are calling “excessive.” In response to this, a growing number of lawyers, journalists, writers, and others involved in Japanese culture have signed a petition to convince the Japanese government to refuse such conditions.

If the agreement is reached, the minimum limit of copyrights could be extended by 20 years, and even non-copyright holders such as police and prosecutors may be given the ability to go after people for “infringements”. Those opposed feel that these changes could seriously damage the artistic freedom of Japan.

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Dojinshi fans worry trade pact could be the end of Comiket, but is the fear founded in reality?

Whether you call it Comic Market, Comiket, or Comike, the twice-a-year event is the largest gathering of creators and fans of dojinshi, Japanese self-published comics. Each iteration of Comiket draws hundreds of thousands of otaku to its venue at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center.

Something else that’s known by more than one name is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. A proposed trade agreement between a dozen nations, including Japan and the U.S., the legislation is more commonly referred to by the acronym TPP in the Japanese media.

As negotiations between the U.S. and Japan continue, some anime and manga fans are worrying that the Trans-Pacific Partnership/TPP could be disastrous for Comic Market/Comiket/Comike, but just how justified are these fears?

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If Japan joins the TPP, would it be the end of parody and self-published works?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has proven a source of extreme contention on both sides of the ocean. For example, the EFF has been openly critical of the potential agreement, describing it on their website as “a secretive, multinational trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.” Japanese farmers don’t seem to fond of it either, though for entirely different reasons.

And now the TPP is drawing the ire of (with a few smatterings of approval from) Japan’s manga and anime fans. Some are even saying the agreement has the potential to utterly destroy otaku culture. Is this hyperbole or is the sky really falling?

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Where’s my Christmas cake?! Seasonal celebrations threatened by nationwide butter shortage

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Japan currently has a pretty severe butter shortage and it’s been going on for a long time. For months grocery stores around the country have been limiting customers to one box of butter at a time, and even then, people are paying hugely inflated prices.

Generally, Japanese cooking doesn’t really use that much butter, so what is all of this stuff being used for exactly? Cakes and cookies. With Christmas just around the corner, and the butter shortage expected to continue for the foreseeable future, a new and very important question has arisen: Will we still be able to eat Christmas cake?! 

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Butter Crisis ’14: Supermarkets nationwide apologize for empty shelves, cakes threatened

For months now a crisis has been brewing in the dairy industries of Japan. However, like the gooey sweetness of a melting pat of butter penetrating the crevices of a piece of toast, the effects have only recently begun to seep into the general population. We’re still only in the early stages though and things are bound to get worse before they get better.

Some readers who live in Japan may have noticed that the cost of butter has been significantly higher in recent months. In other cases shelves have gone empty and purchases are limited to one per person.

Now the writing is smeared on the wall: Japan is running out of butter… and fast.

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Former PM Taro Aso celebrates Obama’s visit with one of his typically inappropriate comments

Taro Aso might be remembered by some as the last prime minister to serve during the revolving-door era of political leadership that occurred in the last decade in Japan, with the country being led by five different men between 2006 and 2012. During that time and elsewhere in is political career, however, Aso has also become well-known for his numerous gaffes such as saying he wanted to make Japan a country that “rich Jews” would want to live.

Now serving as Deputy PM and Minister of Finance, Aso’s legacy of inappropriate comments lives on. Following the recent visit by US President Barack Obama, the former prime minister felt it was time to give his two cents about the American leader.

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