Time limits on video games? A Japanese teen is taking the government to court

A regional government tried to limit video gaming. So Wataru fought back.

June 12, 2020

Credit: Ryan Quintal on Unsplash

Katniss Everdeen isn’t the only teen resistance leader to know: A 17-year-old high school student named Wataru is taking on a new local law meant to crack down on video game addiction.

In Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture, kids under 20 are only allowed to game for up to 60 minutes on school nights and 90 minutes on weekends. 

Wataru took matters into his own hands, and joined forces with a constitutional lawyer — Tomoshi Sakka — to sue the government.  

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The Kagawa Prefecture’s concerns aren’t unjustified: The World Health Organization has listed “gaming disorder” as an official disease since 2018. 

But as Sakka explains it, a law like this violates Japan’s constitutional protections for freedom of expression.

None of this is to say Wataru is some kind of video game die hard — he claims to play as much as a “regular high school student.” 

But Wataru felt he had to step up anyway. “If I don’t do something,” he told The New York Times, “who will?”

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