Organizers blame blackouts, transportation stoppages

TOKYO — The Tokyo Anime Fair, the largest mart of its kind for toon content, has canceled its 2011 edition, to be held March 24-27, organizers announced on Wednesday.

Rolling blackouts and transportation stoppages imposed in response to the March 11 earthquake disaster have made it difficult to hold TAF as planned, organizers explained.

TAF was already an embattled event since the Tokyo metropolitan government, a TAF sponsor, supported a bill to tighten restrictions on sexual content in comic and toons. Major publishers and toon production companies protested the bill, passed by Tokyo city legislature in December, saying it violated freedom of expression.

As a result of the protest, the number of companies signed up to participate in TAF dropped sharply, from 244 in 2010 to 161 this year.

Meanwhile, the protesters and their supporters organized a competing event, Anime Contents Expo, which is still skedded for March 26-27 at the Makuhari Messe event space in Tokyo. Exhibitors including Kadokawa, Aniplex, Animate, Amusement Media, Dentsu, TV Tokyo and Osaka Broadcasting.

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