It's no stretch of imagination to say that the job of localizing Japanese games is typically thankless. Japanese localizations are a niche (though growing) market of gamers that have high expectations and little tendency to be happy no matter the efforts of the localizing publisher. Sometimes demands of localizers are quite unreasonable, so it's refreshing to see actual localizers come out and clarify the process.
XSEED Localization Specialist Tom Lipschultz replied to a number of comments in the XSEED forums over the weekend questioning the lack of Japenese voice over in localized games. Essentially, Tom had to make clear that in most cases it's not in XSEED's power to include such things:
"... everyone who's ever spoken a line of dialogue or sung a phrase of music in a video game signed a contract of some sort... and some of those contracts, ESPECIALLY in Japan, can be pretty draconian when you get down to the fine print. It's not at all uncommon for a Japanese voice-actor to record his/her voice for a game under the stipulation that it ONLY be used within the country of Japan, making it ILLEGAL to use those lines anywhere else in the world."
The above comments come in addition to the generally accepted knowledge that oftentimes technical limitations also inhibit a localizing publisher's ability to retain Japanese voice over. Keep in mind that many times localizing a game isn't a hugely profitable venture, and licensing Japanese voices can both be pricey and take extended amounts of time that may localizers may not be able to afford.
Nevertheless, Tom recognizes that Japanese voice overs are a much requested feature, but implores readers to try and empathize. Localizers are essentially 100% required to add English voiceovers in order to publish a title. A lot of money, a lot of dedication goes into that. As such, boycotting a game due to the lack of of Japanese voiceover isn't a statement on voiceover, but on English localization period.
"So yeah... bottom line, if you're going to "vote with your wallet," as it were, please make sure you know what you're voting FOR. By not supporting games that publishers had no choice but to dub, you're not sending the message that you want fewer dubs... you're sending the message that you want fewer games of that type released in English, period. And I'm pretty sure that's NOT the message you're trying to send."
Localizing publishers like XSEED go beyond all means to try and bring Japanese titles stateside that might otherwise not make it. We'd all love for Japanese voiceovers to be included in every game, but the best way for happen is by supporting localizers. As such, you encourage the Japanese market to push for bringing their games to North America. As such, the process becomes easier, more profitable, and gives XSEED more room to create better localizations.
It's extremely endearing to see Tom come into the community and give some clarity to what I've seen is a very big issue for many gamers. I'm a big fan of Japanese voice-over myself, but I'd never let the lack thereof prevent me from picking a game up I think I'd enjoy... and you shouldn't either!