For those who don't pay attention to general anime news, the Tokyo legislature just passed a bill, Bill 156, that will give the city government sweeping powers of censorship over manga and anime. Series that contain too much violence, sexual situations of any kind, romantic relationships between people who wouldn't legally be able to marry (ie siblings), and homosexuality will be required to be sold as 18+ material.
What does this mean for us?
Bleach hits many of those stipulations, particularly the violence parts. Not only Bleach, but several other Shounen Jump series (and shounen AND shoujo series in general) are looking at a lot of trouble. Since the target audience is 12-18 year old boys, barring sale of the material to them will make shounen manga as they stand now virtually unsaleable in Tokyo. Kubo himself recently Tweeted about this, saying he was disappointed in the vote (if anyone has that Tweet, please post it!).
Fortunately, Shueisha and the other members of the Big Ten are not taking this laying down. Senior editors at Shueisha, Shounen Jump's publisher, are already calling on manga artists to produce stories that will "blow [the legislature] away" and reassuring readers that they will continue to publish whatever they feel will be "exciting to read" in Shounen Jump. The CEO of Kodansha (who is also head of the Big Ten) has also said that the industry will not take this laying down, and that they will continue to oppose the bill.
Opposition has come in the form of the Tokyo International Animation Fair. Because the city of Tokyo has decided to pass this law, the Big Ten publishers have all pulled out of the Animation Fair, leaving them with virtually nothing to screen. Shueisha in particular has pulled support, refusing to screen ANY Shounen Jump titles. Without their support, the Fair will not only be a bust - it'll be a total embarrassment. This has even shaken the Prime Minister, who has personally urged both sides to work things out before the Fair becomes an international embarrassment. Comiket may also be cancelled.
The law goes up to final vote Wednesday and is expected to pass with very little opposition. It only applies to the city of Tokyo (for now) and there's a grace period until July 2011 to either have it overturned or let it stand. If it stands, most publishers are looking at either bowing to the regulations or leaving Tokyo for greener pastures in Kyoto or Osaka. Unfortunately, short of invading Japan and overthrowing the government (note to people who don't understand sarcasm: I am not actually advocating the invasion of a sovereign nation), there isn't much foreigners can really do. The first link does give suggestions to write the legislature, even if it's in English, if you're interested.
More information can be found here:
Edit: It passed.