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At the beginning or end of episodes of anime I sometimes see a disclaimer similar to this:

This program is a work of fiction.
Any resemblance to people, parties,
or situations is purely coincidental.

Is this a trope? Or is there some Japanese regulation that sometimes applies to these shows?

The above quote was taken from the end of Durarara! ep 1x13 to be exact.

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    This happens in the US, too (and, I would imagine, in various other television/film industries around the world). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_persons_fictitious_disclaimer – senshin Sep 23 '15 at 2:28
  • @senshin is correct and it's a general media thing. you see it a lot in crime dramas like Law and Order, one episode of SVU particularly was very similar to a Michael Jackson trail. to my understanding it's to avoid deformation lawsuits or messing up ongoing trails/investergations by broadcasting a point of view on one party's guilt or innocence with no factual evidence (eg. a crime show shows a parody of Bill Cosby raping women, going to trial and then agreeing to a plea bargain in which he says he's a sex addict). – Memor-X Sep 23 '15 at 2:52
  • Related, on Movies.SE: movies.stackexchange.com/q/8388 – senshin Sep 23 '15 at 18:57
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This is less of a trope and more of a copyright catch-all claim.

As a reference from the All persons fictitious disclaimer, the main reason that this is done is to prevent another person from suing for libel.

It isn't unrealistic to think that someone's family name could be Orihara, and would take grievance with the way Izaya is portrayed. So, to prevent them from suing, the works are made to be fiction and not based on any one person or any one real event.

This can also used to cover up for factual inaccuracies as well, per Samurai Champloo:

This work of fiction is not an accurate historical portrayal.

Like we care.

Now shut up and enjoy the show!

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