Japan confronts TV violence

Knifings spur look at material in the media

TOKYO — The Japanese government launched a panel on Wednesday aimed at protecting the nation’s youth from violence and obscene material in the media. The move comes in the wake of copycat knifing incidents blamed on a popular TV series.

Education Minister Nobutaka Machimura said the committee aims to prevent youth from being exposed to violent or sexual scenes on TV and in print media. The group is expected to release interim findings in the summer and will discuss issues such as introducing V chips in TV sets.

Over the past two years, the crime rate for Japanese youths has climbed by more then 60%. Since the start of this year, massive media attention has been given to crimes involving butterfly knives, a collapsible knife used by a character played by pop singer Takuya Kimura in a Fuji TV drama series.

Since the start of the year, a junior high school student stabbed a teacher to death in between classes with a butterfly knife and another junior high school boy wounded a police officer with the same type of knife, while trying to steal the officer’s pistol.

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