Translation: Using Cheat Tools in Pokemon Go is a Crime?

Prepare for trouble

Today’s Asahi Newspaper had an interesting article about the use of cheat tools in popular games like Puzzle & Dragons or Pokemon GO and how some people are being arrested over it. Because the paper only allows you to read the full article if you’re a registered member, I can’t translate it in full, but what follows below is a summary with the most relevant parts directly translated.


Using Cheat Tools in Pokemon GO is a Crime?

(original article by Aya Amano)

“Arrests have been made concerning cheat tools (CT) in the online game Puzzle & Dragons, which is popular both in and outside the country. ” The article then explains to Japanese readers that cheat tools are as “tools that allow you trick [the game],” and goes on to say, “They appeared immediately in the popular Pokemon GO. What’s the problem?”

The article continues: “‘Can anybody be prosecuted just by using it?’ When the incidents were reported, anxiety and doubt swirled all over the Internet.  If you use the same CT that the suspect used, which anybody can, you can easily become invincible and it’s said that over 400,000 people have downloaded it.” It goes on to explain that there about how easily cheat tools can be found on the internet and how people upload videos explaining how to use and download them.

The next paragraph is about the the perspective of one of the companies: “To maker Gung Ho Online Entertainment, the damages are serious. Not only do they lose the chance for people to pay when players cheat, but it leads to players leaving the game because those who compete in the rankings feel it’s unfair. They say that until now, they’ve built all sorts of fixes and taken approaches to stop it, but it’s a back and forth with the cheat makers who take pride in sharpening up their skills and the technology of their cheats.

“Because it’s a problem inside of games, it’s hard for police department’s cyber patrol units to find it. It’s necessary to step carefully when prosecuting it; in the case this time with the Kanagawa Prefecture police, the arrest was made because it was suspected it was a violation of copyright law to develop and distribute a program that can circumvent the maker’s defense program. In addition, in order to stop the overuse of CT, they’ve gone on to start prosecuting users as well.”

Next the article swerves in the topic of how cheats are being used in other games, such Pokemon GO and Monster Strike (which is a popular Japanese mobile game that sort of combines monster battling with pinball). The information will be familiar to many who know of Pokemon GO, with people using false GPS information to trick the tracker. In Monster Strike’s case, the article quotes a Nexon PR representative as saying, “It takes time to track down a new kind of inappropriate use of the game and it’s hard to immediately respond to it.”

Then the article mentions something that has been seen a lot in recent article about Pokemon GO: how in places like Twitter people have been advertising their services to essentially cheat and play these games for you, making money that way.

The writer ends with this thought: “The scary thing about CT is that you can be tried for a crime even if you’re just using it on a whim,” then quotes both Naoto Narita, a 24-year-old employee of CypherTec, who is credited as being knowledgeable about game security, saying that it’s important that parents look over their children so they don’t get these cheats while not knowing that they’re a crime, and an official from the Kanagawa police who says, “There’s a possibility you can be tried for a crime by using a cheat just one time. Absolutely do not do it.”


 

This news reminds me of stories earlier in the century of people being arrested for using game screenshots on their web pages without permission. I haven’t heard of that happening in a long time though.

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News on the Situation/FAQ/Timeline for Return

I don’t know if anyone is reading this or if everyone just thinks the site is dead, but hooray it’s not!

If you remember, I temporarily halted progress on the site due to a family emergency from the Kumamoto earthquake. Here’s an update on the situation.

Why has it taken so long and why haven’t you been able to reach me? My aunt and uncle don’t have a home computer or internet connection (this is very common in Japan, especially among the older population) and Kumamoto is pretty rural, which means there aren’t a lot of internet cafes or things like that.

Why have I been here so long? My aunt and uncle were missing. We found them the next week, but it turned out my uncle was severely injured. I stayed in part to help with his recuperation, because he’s old it will take a while and all he has is my aunt and he used to do all the heavy work she required.

Also, their house was destroyed, so they were effectively homeless. It took forever to get a certificate of destruction for insurance to compensate them from the government (TWO FUCKING MONTHS!) and without that they didn’t have the money to move into a new house. We had to find temporary housing, forage their old house for usable stuff, buy new stuff, take care of my uncle, find a new house and now we’re in the process of moving there. The first few weeks we didn’t even have access to enough clean water to get daily jobs done. Thousands of people were huddling in hastily built refuge centers in public buildings or schools and of course we weren’t going to abandon them without helping their neighbors, because we’re comparatively well off. You can’t just help yourself in a disaster.

Couldn’t you leave it up to your family? Not really. I wasn’t the only one. I did have my cousin around too, but we’re both very young and as such don’t have set careers or families to take care of, so most of my family had to take off after a couple of days. The contributed financially to help my aunt and uncle out, but they had reasons they couldn’t be there. The younger, less stable men had to stay around to help out and in the end it was just me and my cousin.

Why middle of July? My aunt and uncle are moving to Kagoshima. Obviously, my fragile old aunt can’t be expected to move her husband by herself. I’m not being sexist, she’s not a physically strong person. She’s very strong mentally, but she needs help. So once they’re in their new house and we’ve got them set up with replacement furniture and stuff, and we have the doctor’s okay for my uncle to be more physically active, then my and cousin I can leave them in good hands.

It’s terribly important for me to do this, because I feel like if family doesn’t step up for family in times like this, then what are we good for?

What will happen to Karasu Corps when you come back? It will go back to normal. I don’t care if I had a massive hiatus. I made a promise and I intend to keep it.

But Fire Emblem Fates is old news? I don’t care. Integrity is doing what you say you will do. People may not care at all. That’s not the point. Serving truth is the point. It doesn’t matter if it’s unpopular.

Why can’t you work on it now? Are you serious? Without a computer or an internet connection? Kagoshima is a little bigger than Kumamoto, that’s why I found an internet cafe, but this is not an appropriate place to do translations that take hours and involve multiple file juggling. I might be able to come in every few days and check up on what’s going on, but not for extended periods of time.

What should do I if a need a translation/clarification in the meantime? PM me at Reddit. I go by u/RyanoftheStars over there. That will be the easiest. I seriously have so many Twitter/e-mail correspondence in the period of time I was gone it’s hard to get through it all and internet cafes can be expensive. (Alas, I haven’t found a cheapo manga cafe, which is weird.) That will be the fastest and easiest way for me to prioritize your request.

Thank you for patience, especially those who contributed feedback, edits and suggestions, and I hope to work with you guys again come mid July! In the meantime, may the raven smile upon you!

Report: Osaka’s Sakai City Adopts New Rule for Covering Up Adult Material in Stores, Publishers Protest

Photo by Nikkan Sports

Photo by Nikkan Sports

It has recently been reported that Sakai City of the larger Osaka metropolis in Western Japan is taking a further step in the restriction and regulation of adult material in convenience stores, prompting magazine makers to revolt and claim it is a breach of free speech rights. What follows is a translation from what I think is the best of the articles on the issue from Sankei’s livedoor NEWS site:

To sum up briefly:

  • Sakai City’s initiative to put covers over adult magazines has lead to the industry raising its voice in opposition.
  • The Japanese Magazine Publisher Association  and The Japanese Book Publishers Association have announced a protest seeking the halt of the practice.
  • The Associations claim, “It is an extreme form of censorship. It’s obvious this is deviating from the act.”

Sakai City’s idea! Publisher and magazine associations bite into the putting on of “blindfolds” on adult magazines, announce a call to halt it

April 1st, 8:17 PM 2016, Sankei Newspaper

In regards to an initiative to reduce the amount of children who see adult magazines lined up in convenience stores wherein Sakai City and Family Mart have started putting vinyl sheets on the pictures of magazine covers in order to hide them, the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association and the Japan Book Publishers Association decided to announced a call to seek the cancellation of the practice on April 1st.

At the beginning of the week, it will be displayed on both associations’ home pages and sent to the city. [Translator’s note: you can find the  announcement here in a PDF file. While I link to the Japan Book Publisher’s Association, the file is the same on both sites.]

The city and Family Mart reached an agreement on March 16th for an initiative wherein the middle portion of an adult magazine’s pictures and other things would be covered to hide it by a dark green sheet (12 centimeters tall) and it started in one store in that same city. By the next day on the 17th, it had expanded to 10 other stores within the city. The targets are the magazines in the separated section designated as “harmful publications” under Osaka’s Act for the Healthy Growth of Children and Teens.

Hearing of the initiative, the two associations sent an open letter of question to Mayor Osami Takeyama. It stated, “Covers are an important trait in deciding whether or not to buy,” and continued with eight questions such as, “Does this not touch on our right to freedom of expression?” They also asked, “Does this not deviate from the act?” because  in the same act, there is no provision for not letting people see covers.

In regards to this, Mayor Takeyama responded on 30th of the same month. “Whether to join in on the agreement or not is left up to each convenience store. As it is at in its character an agreement [between industry people and the city], it does deviate from the prefecture’s act,” he claimed and went on to say, “This does not count as a violation of freedom of speech.”

The Japan Magazine Publisher’s Association claims, “The vinyl covers are provided with public funds and it amounts to an extreme form of censorship. It is obviously deviates from the act,” and seeks to terminate the agreement between Family Mart and the city in its statement. On the other hand, the Division of the Citizens’ Activism and Cooperation says, “We want to think of a way to handle this once we’ve seen the statement.”

The Japan Magazine Publishers Association represents 88 publishers who publish magazines, while the Japan Book Publishers Association represents 423 publishers.

If you want to see in detail what it looks like, MBS News has a video on their site. MBS News also reports that in response to the associations’ statements, Mayor Takeyama said, “I’ve got the agreement of women and people who have children. I want to continue this from now on.”

Nikkan Sports also offered some quite relevant quotes. In summing up some of the reaction from the average citizen, they offered this paragraph:

A 36-year-old business man who came to the store with his fifth grade son in tow said, “I’ve been troubled when my children stare at the covers with interest,” agreeing with the initiative.  A 52-year-old man who owns his own business took one of the “blind-folded” magazines off the rack and tilted his head to the side, saying, “I think children grow by seeing these types of things here and there. I wonder if this isn’t a little ‘overprotective.'”

Nikkan also quoted an anonymous editor from an entertainment information magazine based in Tokyo who expressed a sense of crisis, saying, “A magazine’s cover is its life. If it were to spread nationwide, we’d have to think of a layout where we’d have to put catchy information on the bottom or the top that is not hidden.” It’s not stated in the article of course, but my speculation is that this one of the many entertainment/lifestyle/fashion magazines which usually don’t have adult content, but can from time to time feature sensational sex issues with famous stars posing nude or semi-nude on the covers.

Nikkan also gave some context for other cities’ regulations concerning adult magazines: “Kanagawa Prefecture has limitations for presentation among several methods, including separation, display behind the register or on the inside of the register, and the placement of a 10-inch partition. Kagawa Prefecture’s law enforces a display method that separates materials so that they are not easily seen by children and teens, and enacts visiting inspections and guidance regularly. Sakai City’s wrapping initiative is rare among the nation.”

Some Japanese government officials, such Taro Yamada of the Parliament, and Shun Otokita of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, have recently come out to protest the government deciding which publications are “harmful publications,” contending that it will eventually lead to more heavy curtailments of free speech. The same acts for the “healthy growth of teens and children” that designated what “harmful publications” are, have also been seen as the primary motivation behind the formation of gaming industry self-regulations boards such as Sofurin and CERO due to sometimes scandalous court cases involving adult material being purchased by minors.