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Sony's online store in Japan moves to restrict access to games



PlayStation.com Japan building roadblocks to prevent the sale of adults only-rated games to minors.

TOKYO--Following recent activity at the local level to regulate the sale of violent or mature-themed games in Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan (SCEJ) said today it will begin restricting the sale of certain video games to minors at its online shopping site.

Starting in mid-September, the online store will require that purchasers of games rated "Over 18" by CERO (the Japanese equivalent of the ESRB) prove that they are, in fact, at least 18 years old.

SCEJ says it will disclose additional specifics of the program shortly.

Last month, the Japanese game industry said it intends to work in tandem with retailers to more effectively regulate sales of some games to minors. The industry's self-regulation policies are seen as a move to deter the Japanese government from imposing regulations of its own.

As reported earlier in GameSpot, the Kanagawa prefecture government has already moved to ban the sale of Grand Theft Auto III to minors, claiming it qualifies as a "harmful publication."

The ban has led other prefectures to consider taking similar steps as well. Osaka prefecture will address whether it will impose an age-limit restriction in September. Ishikawa and Saitama prefectures are also planning to regulate sales of violent games.

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