Insulting someone online could now land you in jail for a year in Japan


Cyberbullies in Japan could now withstand a year in jail, as the federal government cracks down on online abuse following the suicide of a 22-year-old skilled wrestler and actuality TV star who was hounded on social media.

New penalties for public abuse as a part of a revised legislation got here into impact Thursday, permitting fines of as much as 300,000 yen (RM9,763) from the earlier 10,000 yen (RM325) and jail sentences of as much as 12 months in contrast with 29 days beforehand.

“It’s important to try to stamp out the kind of vicious insults that have sometimes even driven people to die,” Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa instructed reporters on Tuesday. “The revision to the law doesn’t unjustly limit freedom of expression.”

Japan’s Federation of Bar Associations opposed the change to the legislation, saying it could threaten justified criticism and freedom of expression.

The Justice Ministry stated in a Q&A on its web site that the legislation wouldn’t be used to punish public criticism of politicians. It additionally stated that the stricter measures wouldn’t have an effect on its definition of abuse – “showing contempt for someone, without basis in fact, in a way that could come to the notice of unspecified or large numbers of people.”

Hana Kimura, a skilled wrestler, died in 2020 after hateful feedback have been posted on her Twitter account following an incident in which she misplaced her mood with a fellow solid member on actuality present Terrace House. At least two individuals – each males – have been referred to prosecutors over the incident, with one in every of them being fined 9,000 yen (RM292) after repeatedly urging her to die.

In one other case this year, a man was indicted for online abuse of Takuya Matsunaga, who grew to become a public determine over a courtroom case towards an aged driver who hit and killed his spouse and toddler. Court procedures for figuring out such nameless abusers have been simplified beneath a authorized change final year, the Mainichi newspaper stated. – Bloomberg

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