I am writing to express my serious concern about the production and sale in Japan of computer games such as RapeLay, which is produced by Illusion Software, which involve rape and sexual violence against women.
Japan has an obligation under Article 5(a) of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) “to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.” In highlighting that “the oversexualized depiction of women [in the media] strengthens the existing stereotypes of women as sex objects and continues to generate girls’ low self-esteem” the CEDAW Committee during its review of Japan’s compliance with CEDAW in July 2009 urged the government of Japan to “ban the sale of video games or cartoons involving rape and sexual violence against women which normalize and promote sexual violence against women and girls.” Article 14 of the Japanese Constitution also guarantees equality under the law and states that there shall be no “discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.”
I would therefore respectfully urge the new Japanese government to show leadership in promoting women’s equality by complying with Japan’s obligations under CEDAW and with the recommendations of the CEDAW Committee. Such leadership would include promoting positive images of women as equal members of society, establishing measures and policies to eliminate all discrimination against women and, specifically, banning the sale of computer games such as RapeLay which normalize and promote sexual violence against women and girls.
Thank you for your attention.