Almost a week after the gruesome murder spree Tomohiro Kato, 25, inflicted on Tokyo in broad daylight, the inevitable calls for tighter internet regulation are echoing loud and clear across Japan.
The self-confessed video game nut is currently being held up on television, in newspapers and in magazines as the perfect example of what goes wrong when feckless youth is allowed to indulge its passion for solitary pursuits in dark rooms.
Internet at fault
Kato’s use of various mobile websites to post warnings of his knife rampage only serves to underline how ‘evil’ modern technology is in the eyes of those who make the law in a conservative nation like Japan.
Now, the government there is looking to clamp down on online forms of expression it considers suspect. A communications ministry explained that some form of filtering software is being considered.
Shingo Okamura told a press briefing: “We already have internet software that detects certain words when somebody posts them online. But just by searching [for] keywords such as 'murder,' there is an enormous amount of information to screen.”
Dragon Quest to blame too
While any legislation is likely still years away, the impact of Kato’s rage-fuelled actions is already being felt by gamers in particular.
Among the tropes dragged out in the media are details such as the ‘facts’ that the knife he used is similar to one used in Dragon Quest, that he was heavily into hardcore games like Eternal Fighter and Chantelise and that he was a mobile addict who felt insecure without his phone.
Whatever transpires in Japan, one thing’s for sure – the nation’s obsession with cutesy videogames and oddball recluses will never be the same again.