Sanctions on Japanese Cultural Products Eased Again

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Sanctions on Japanese Cultural Products Eased Again

Japanese pop music concerts will soon be free for staging in Korea. Japanese TV documentaries, sports and news programs will be open for TV transmission, while international award-winning Japanese cartoons will also be available for screening at movie theaters nationwide.

Minister of Culture and Tourism Park Ji-won announced further easing of government sanctions on Japanese pop culture at a press conference on June 27. The ban on Japanese culture was partially lifted in 1998 and 1999. Due to this third-stage partial release, Japanese popular songs can be sung at large theaters such as Sejong Cultural Center for Performing Arts, numerous outdoor theaters and gymnasiums in Korea. And all Japanese movies under P-18 (prohibition under age 18) will be allowed to be screened in theaters.

Music albums, video games, and TV programs which were still restricted at the first and second liftings of the ban are now free for dissemination. Albums containing Japanese songs - though not those sung in the Japanese language - and all kinds of instrumental music have been freed for import into Korea while all video games except Sony Playstation 1 and 2, Dreamcast, and Nintendo were also legalized. "We considered the Korean market and the social situation when deciding the extent of the lift of the ban in music and game sectors," said Minister Park.

Despite this third easing of restrictions on cultural imports from Japan, televised entertainment programs, Japanese-language songs and major video games will remain prohibited in Korea. Authorities said they would analyze the effect of the third ban lift when deciding which products to release from restrictions in the future.

"Movies and music which contain unacceptable scenes of violence or nudity will be subject to censorship just like those from any other nation," Park added.

by Park So-yong

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