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Hate speech in Japan

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On May 24, the Diet passed Japan's first ever anti-hate speech law. There had been mounting concern over the treatment of foreigners and minorities in Japan, particularly ethnic Koreans in recent years. Anti-Korean rallies from groups like Zaitokukai have been known to include threats to “wipe out” Koreans in Japan, as well as other hateful language. The bill passed by the Diet condemns this language and empowers municipalities to take steps to address the problem, ideally through education and mediation. The law is written specifically to protect legal residents of overseas origin and their descendants.

As an American, my instinct is to protest such laws. It strikes me that free speech needs to include hate speech if the concept is to have meaning. There are already laws on the books against harassment and threats of violence. Certainly, Zaitokukai anti-Korean protests have included some ugly incidents, including using a loudspeaker to disrupt lessons at a Korean school. But as happened in that particular case, the police were and remain able to intervene. What need is there for a law criminalizing the expression of certain views?

But of course, we are not talking about America. We are talking about Japan. Japan has a very different history around issues like free speech and race. It therefore seems prudent to look at the law from a more practical perspective. The goal is to reduce the likelihood of future ugly incidents. To that end, even a symbolic law is enough to send a message.

Many people are ambivalent about hate speech laws because they are often broadly written. Governments have been known to use vague laws for unintended purposes, and in the case of a speech law this could lead to censorship. For this reason I think it is good that the law passed by the Diet is quite specific about who it seeks to protect. It is focused only on legal foreigners. Some are critical of the fact that the law does not also specifically include asylum seekers and illegal residents (visa overstayers, undocumented immigrants, etc). However, the hateful speech the law seeks to curb was not really focused on either of those groups. When you are in the business of enforcing speech codes, the narrower the scope the better.

Another criticism of the law is that it “lacks teeth.” The law simply tells each municipality to come up with its own policies and lacks any strong enforcement mechanism. It may just be the American in me speaking, but I happen to think that more flexibility at the local level is a good thing. Let the districts where this is a more serious problem enact harsher policies that represent the will of those constituents, and let other districts act differently. Threatening people across the entire country with fines or jail time just for saying something “offensive” I believe goes too far.

It is important to keep in mind the distinction between genuinely harmful speech (threats, harassment) and opinions we consider ugly. Japan's postwar history with Zainichi Koreans is a complex one. There are legitimate political complaints that Japanese people may have against both the Chongryon (North Korean) and Mindan (South Korean) organizations with regard to their activities within Japan. People should be free to voice those concerns, but should be discouraged from advocating violence or accosting school children. With the right measures, regional governments can take steps to ensure political dialogue stays respectful.

My hope is that the municipal authorities will be empowered by the new law to take action in cases where there is genuine harassment and potential violence. A civil society need not tolerate either. However, I do not think individual citizens, writers or politicians should be punished merely for expressing negative opinions of foreigners. I think Japan is better off having such people out in the open to encourage dialogue and resolution. Ideological wars are won by proving the other side wrong, not simply insisting that their views are forbidden.

Free speech is worth fighting for, both in America and Japan. Free societies should not want the government in the business of policing opinions, and we should use laws already on the books to stop speech that crosses the line and threatens people's physical safety. While I have misgivings about the law, I respect the Diet's attempt to deal with a complicated issue in a way that both avoids outright censorship and gives officials a means to aid minority communities. There can be no perfect law about speech in a society with tens of millions of unique voices. Time will tell if the Diet's actions constitute a step in the right directio

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"Hate speech" can be used to suppress legitimate opposition to governments. In places like Turkey you can be jailed for "insulting" their crooked president. For now the Japanese law only considers legal foreign residents, but in time it will be extended to suppress criticism of the LDP.

There are already laws to prevent people calling for the death of others, it's just that the police choose to allow the fascists to do as they like. If you don't believe me try walking past the Diet calling for the death of politicians. You won't get far before being arrested, and even the hint of a threat against the royal family will get you locked up in seconds. Why the same laws aren't used to lock up the fascists is a question "journalists" should be asking the police.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

As an American, my instinct is to protest such laws. It strikes me that free speech needs to include hate speech if the concept is to have meaning.

There's nothing more adorbs than when Americans make the argument that libertarian or absolutist interpretations of freedom are the only possible way to have freedom, blissfully unaware that pretty much the rest of the world has found ways to make it work, and that even the US itself doesn't have unrestricted freedom of speech.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Why the same laws aren't used to lock up the fascists is a question "journalists" should be asking the police.

Good luck with that. The LDP and their bully boys have declared war on the media and any journalist poking a stick into the filty deeds of the police is just asking for the smack of firm government. It would be a brave journalist indeed who tried to expose the police in this current climate of media intimidation.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"The 'war on the media' is largely a figment of the vivid imagination of the gaijin press corps in Japan."

You did say "largely" but are you implying that Furutachi Ichiro and Kuniya Hiroko are actually gaijin in disguise? Or do they just have very vivid imaginations? Both lost their high-profile media jobs on TV in the past year, and I believe both alluded to government pressure as a problem that made doing their jobs difficult.

I do like the following sentence in the above article: "It is important to keep in mind the distinction between genuinely harmful speech (threats, harassment) and opinions we consider ugly." Expanding the definition of the former to encompass the latter is problematic and blurs key distinctions. For example, despite the frequent expression of ugly opinions here I've never seen anybody on Japan Today threaten or harass others because of their ethnic background or nationality.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The 'war on the media' is largely a figment of the vivid imagination of the gaijin press corps in Japan

Yeah, right. That's why Japanese people call NHK Abechanneru , why Naoki Hyakuta wanted to have Okinawa newspapers "crushed", why an Asahi Shimbun journalist and his family received death threats. It's the gaijin!!

Expose what on the part of the police?

Pretty much everything, really:

"Ichikawa Hiro, a lawyer who gave testimony on police corruption in the Diet, says, ‘There is an institutionalized culture of illicit money-making in the NPA, and since it has gone on for so long it is now very deep-rooted’ (Akahata 2004:116). In 2009 a veteran police officer named Senba Toshirō, while still serving on the force, published a lengthy exposé of police corruption: financial scams, fabricated evidence, forced confessions, beatings of suspects, drug abuse by police officers, embezzlement from police slush funds, and much else. Senba’s sensational conclusion: ‘The largest organized crime gang in Japan today is the National Police Agency’ (Senba 2009:73)".

The laughs keep coming:

"Even so, cases where police officers forewarn local gang bosses about impending police raids are still being reported. A Hokkaido detective who held the police record for most firearms confiscated in a single year eventually confessed that he had cut a deal with a Hakodate yakuza gang: they gave him the guns and in return he pretended not to notice their 2-ton shipment of cannabis and crystal meth. In 2008 as many as 23 detectives and inspectors in the anti-yakuza squad of the Aichi Police Department were implicated in a bribery scandal involving the Blue Group, a Nagoya-based federation of brothel-owners and moneylenders with strong ties to the Kōdō-kai. Though one police inspector, who admitted to having accepted a ‘loan’ of ¥8.5 million from the Blue Group, received an official reprimand, the internal investigation otherwise appears to have fizzled out."

http://apjjf.org/2012/10/7/Andrew-Rankin/3692/article.html

That's what the boys in blue were up to a few years back. I wonder what they're doing now?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You are inferring that Japan is a civil society. It isn't. Its mask just fits nicely most of the time.

Compared to where? No country has a 100% civil society; Japan may not be the best, but it's certainly up there.

3 ( +3 / -1 )

ThunderbirdMAY. 31, 2016 - 07:33PM JST

What are these people doing they can't outlaw such a simple thing.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. As much as you hate racism, hate speech law can be easily used to oppress minorities and minority views.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"If there is indeed a 'war on the media' in Japan, the country is in good company."

Which, I can only assume, leaves you more or less satisfied with the status quo. To each his own, but I can't really agree with an attitude that says "If other countries are just as bad or worse than Japan when it comes to some issue (e.g. tolerating hate speech or suppressing press freedom) then I don't see too much to worry about."

A lot of people (Japanese and non-Japanese) would like Japan to be better than other places in multiple policy areas, instead of simply no worse than other places. Maybe you think that holds Japan to an unfair and unreasonably high standard, but again to each his own.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Certainly, Zaitokukai anti-Korean protests have included some ugly incidents, including using a loudspeaker to disrupt lessons at a Korean school. But as happened in that particular case, the police were and remain able to intervene.

For starters, this is harassment, and should've been actionable under existing laws. In addition, the rules for protests are quite strict in Japan. You need a permit, and the particulars cover minutiae like how you walk and hold your arms. If the police were unable to find a way to stop this harassment, it's because they were unwilling to, whether out of support for the right-whingers or out of fear.

There's nothing more adorbs than when Americans make the argument that libertarian or absolutist interpretations of freedom are the only possible way to have freedom, blissfully unaware that pretty much the rest of the world has found ways to make it work, and that even the US itself doesn't have unrestricted freedom of speech.

There's nothing less adorbs when a poster strawmans. The author never made those interpretations or said that the U.S. itself has unrestricted freedom of speech. And the world hasn't made it work, as we saw with the malicious prosecution of the Japanese journalist in South Korea, the lawsuit against Simon Singh in the UK by charlatan chiropractors (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Chiropractic_Association_v_Singh) and the EU's anti-blasphemy laws.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Your turn: Compared to where?

Better civil society compared to most of the 24 countries on 4 continents that I've visited, including most or all of Asia and much of Europe, plus the U.S. and Morocco.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well written article. I hope mainstream media live up to this level when reporting about Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

C'mon, you don't have to be a melting pot country to realize that hate speech and racism aren't constructive things to any healthy society. You ban violence, fraud, driving under alcohol because it's harmful to the people. What are these people doing they can't outlaw such a simple thing. I wished I could sue any racist if I had a proof (video) or witnesses. I would happily rush back to that outsourcing company in front of the station and see if they would do the same thing again (without a word, hand gesturing me to get out as soon as they see me, as if shooing a stray cat away)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Resident Koreans in Japan already enjoy many special privileges? such as a a fourth generation not being allowed to become Japanese citizen and still listed as a "resident alien" and facing constant bigotry because they are still not allowed to integrate into Japanese society. even the school children face harassment .....do you envy these privileges

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Jim McBrideMAY. 31, 2016 - 10:54PM JST

Resident Koreans in Japan already enjoy many special privileges? such as a a fourth generation not being allowed to become Japanese citizen

No. They refuse to be Japanese nationals. Just talk with a Korean association, Mindan or Soren in Japan. They insist that applying for a Japanese citizenship is betrayal to their homeland.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Another criticism of the law is that it “lacks teeth.”

And rightly so.

The law simply tells each municipality to come up with its own policies and lacks any strong enforcement mechanism.

Exactly. Its useless.

It may just be the American in me speaking,

it probably is.

but I happen to think that more flexibility at the local level is a good thing.

it isn't.

My hope is that the municipal authorities will be empowered by the new law to take action in cases where there is genuine harassment and potential violence. A civil society need not tolerate either.

You are inferring that Japan is a civil society. It isn't. Its mask just fits nicely most of the time.

However, I do not think individual citizens, writers or politicians should be punished merely for expressing negative opinions of foreigners.

Trump supporter? Anyway, it depends how they express those negative opinions...

I think Japan is better off having such people out in the open to encourage dialogue and resolution.

You really think people like Makoto Sakurai and Shintaro Ishihara- pretty much your average Uyoku- are interested in dialogue and resolution??

Ideological wars are won by proving the other side wrong, not simply insisting that their views are forbidden.

Obviously you've NEVER sat down with these people to attempt to debate them.

Free societies should not want the government in the business of policing opinions

Again, what makes you think that Japan is free? Don't want the government in the business of policing opinions? Talk to the NHK, who are told what to say by the LDP; who back in 2009 began scathing criticism of DPJ when they took power. We have a news media and bunch of spineless reporters that cater to the narrative of 1 political party that has been in power almost continuously since WW2. What free society are you talking about?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm in agreement with Nessie. Japan is a very civil country, one of the most civil on the planet.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Compared to practically ANYWHERE in the west, where AT LEAST discrimination is a crime.

I think you're just as likely, if not more likely, to find that discrimination is only a civil offence in many of those countries.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-30/alan-tudge-incorrect-on-racial-disrcimination-act/5378960

Where it is a crime (categorized under the law as a hate crime, for example), it tends to involve activities that are already criminal under other laws, such as assault or harrassment, which under specific laws become racial assault and racial harrassment. These can lead to tougher sentencing of the criminal.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Try living in them. In many of these countries, discrimination is a crime,

Even after having it explained to you that a distinction exists, you seem blissfully unaware of what the word crime actually means.

Something can be "unlawful" or "illegal" without being a crime. You can break a law without committing a crime. Discrimination often falls into this category. Not renting to someone because of their ethnicity is an act of discrimination. It is also illegal in many countries with strong discrimination laws. At the same time, in many of those same countries, if not all, it is not a crime.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm pretty sure that in most western countries, discrimination is punishable by a very hefty fine and in some cases jail time as well not to mention community service.

Anyone can be pretty sure about anything, if they're not bothering to check.

In "most western countries", as you would have it, the fine may or may not be hefty, and community service or jail time would be reserved for the same kind of criminal act that results in community service or, for more serious offences, jail time, even without the involvement of a racial motive: acts like vandalism, harrassment, assault, or murder.

You gave a couple of particularly wimpy examples that we are familiar with in Japan - displaying signs barring entry to foreigners, and not renting apartments to people. These would be more likely to result in a fine than community service or jail time in "most western countries". They would also be considered civil offences rather than crimes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All of what you said right now above is Useless. You're trying to steer the argument into just talking about hate speech. My point was about general discrimination and in particular institutional discrimination. You're trying to focus the whole argument I'm nothing more than hate speech so everything you said above is completely irrelevant

in Australia, an act of discrimination may be illegal but not be a crime - just as other acts which are illegal are not automatically classified as crimes.

But still illegal and that was my point in the first place.

In addition to that your example about the cross burning was an example from 1990 that was over 25 years ago, so get some more recent material.

What I have never heard of, from the 1970s to now, is a single case in which someone has gone to prison or been sentenced to community service for displaying a sign expressing discrimination, or for refusing to rent to people, or for not giving someone a job.

Well for one thing, you don't see signs saying that a person of a certain color or race or nationality is not allowed into a Place.. If you did you'd see that person get sued. They don't have to go to jail but they can be sued. As I went to great pains to explain to you in the above post which you obviously didn't bother to read it's not about what kind of punishment but about the fact that discrimination, not hate speech, is illegal.

So far that's 3 countries in the west that don't neatly line up with your description

No they don't line up with how you want to frame the arguments, which is to do with hate speech and not general or institutionalized discrimination.

OK! Lets see YOU give a BIG STRONG MACHO example.

Just did by destroying your argument.

What you seem to be intent on doing is wrapping all that up with the kind of discrimination that doesn't get treated as a crime, and in fact is not classified as a crime, though it is illegal.

No that's what you're trying to say that I'm saying. What I said before is that a civil society should not tolerate discrimination legally. That means that discrimination must be made illegal. Whether or not it is classified as a crime is irrelevant.

you were trying to put words in my mouth and this is why your whole argument and everything you wrote above is practically worthless.

Here it is again: I am talking about laws protecting people from discrimination in general. I am not talking about the different types of redress that a country offers victims of discrimination. Merely that there are laws prohibiting discrimination in general. Japan does not have that. That was my point all along. So feel free to start from scratch

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All of what you said right now above is Useless. You're trying to steer the argument into just talking about hate speech.

That is clearly not the case if you read my last comment. I mentioned it once, and then moved on to other things.

But still illegal and that was my point in the first place.

Your point in the first place, concerning discrimination laws, was this: "In many of these countries, discrimination is a crime, hate speech is as well."

It is reasonable to correct that assertion if in many countries (and I have given the examples of Britain, Australia and the United States), discrimination, while illegal, isn't actually a crime. Consider it corrected.

If you did you'd see that person get sued. They don't have to go to jail but they can be sued.

Hell of a difference, considering you went straight to talking about jail time and community service, rather than mentioning instead that a victim of housing or employment discrimination can sue if they have sufficient time, energy, and confidence about succeeding.

No they don't line up with how you want to frame the arguments, which is to do with hate speech and not general or institutionalized discrimination.

You did bring up hate speech in your post, which I have quoted earlier in this comment. I have no interest in confining the argument to that alone, which is why the bulk of my comments deal with other things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Your point in the first place, concerning discrimination laws, was this: "In many of these countries, discrimination is a crime, hate speech is as well."

Yes I mentioned discrimination I also mentioned other things:

Where are the signs that bar foreign people from entry, never heard of any landlord refusing a foreigner the right to rent a house, I could go on about the divorce laws in Japan vs most third world countries I've lived in and many other things. But no. Japan is not so civil. At least that's how I see it.

Here I also was talking about divorce laws. This was all in the context of explaining what a civil society is

I mentioned it once, and then moved on to other things.

no you didn't. look again at your post. All you talked about was hate crime and you conveniently overlooked my point all along which I mention below your next quote.

Hell of a difference, considering you went straight to talking about jail time and community service, rather than mentioning instead that a victim of housing or employment discrimination can sue if they have sufficient time, energy, and confidence about succeeding.

My point from the very beginning (if you ever bother read my posts properly) were that there are laws against discrimination in the west where as there are none in Japan. I also mentioned divorce laws, which may or may not have anything to do with discrimination as well, all in the context of refuting the argument that Japan is a civil society. You then latched on to hate speech and decided to try to steer the discussion by singling out hate crime from the various forms of discrimination I mentioned and rudely calling them wimpy. I did mention hate speech among other things but you did latch on to that and now you are trying to backpeddle.

If you really want to settle this so we can move on to other posts how about this:

Here is my argument: I don't consider Japan to be a civil society. the following are SOME not all of the reasons why I think so: discrimination is not illegal unless it is being committed against a Japanese national.- the divorce laws are arachaic- Look. I could go on and on. I was responding to a statement that Japan is civil which i believe it not to be and stating my opinion speaking in the context of Japanese civility NOT just through discrimination but through other points in which I see Japanese society lacking. If you go back and carefully read my posts in the beginning you will see that was what i was saying all along. My argument was one questioning Japan's civility.

If you want to disagree with my opinion that's fine. But don't try to steer the discussion in another direction and try to remain civil.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Readers, please stay on topic. Divorce laws are not relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NESSIE

Compared to where?

Compared to practically ANYWHERE in the west, where AT LEAST discrimination is a crime.

No country has a 100% civil society

No one said there was one.

Japan may not be the best, but it's certainly up there

Your turn: Compared to where?

CH3CHO

, they come up with the good idea to prevent themselves from committing a hate speech, which is not to talk about and not to talk with foreigners

They already don't talk to foreigners, and when they talk about us its always in a negative light, or to stereotype us.

Congratulations. You will never hear a hate speech in Japan any more, because no one will ever talk to you and no one will ever talk about you.

Fine by me. What do strangers whom I have never met have to say to me anyway? Unless its something negative.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Better civil society compared to most of the 24 countries on 4 continents that I've visited, including most or all of Asia and much of Europe, plus the U.S. and Morocco

visited is the key word here. Try living in them. In many of these countries, discrimination is a crime, hate speech is as well. Where are the signs that bar foreign people from entry, never heard of any landlord refusing a foreigner the right to rent a house, I could go on about the divorce laws in Japan vs most third world countries I've lived in and many other things. But no. Japan is not so civil. At least that's how I see it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Where are the signs that bar foreign people from entry, never heard of any landlord refusing a foreigner the right to rent a house

Then you haven't looked very hard. I have a friend from Mexico who has a PhD, and he has had to deal with being refused rental in every country he has lived (except Canada apparently). But in most countries, they don't come out and directly say it's because he is Mexican - that's illegal. Instead they make up some other excuse not to rent to him.

Japan is not so civil.

Japan is very civil.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I have a friend from Mexico who has a PhD, and he has had to deal with being refused rental in every country he has lived

Could have something to do with your "friend"

But in most countries, they don't come out and directly say it's because he is Mexican - that's illegal.

You said it yourself. Its illegal there. Its not here. That makes Japan not civil. I may not have

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Anyone can be pretty sure about anything, if they're not bothering to check.

These would be more likely to result in a fine than community service or jail time in "most western countries".

Obviously YOU didn't either since you are also just speculating.

You gave a couple of particularly wimpy examples

Oh..I'm sorry... OK! Lets see YOU give a BIG STRONG MACHO example.

These would be more likely to result in a fine than community service or jail time in "most western countries".

obviously you didn't bother to read what I wrote above so here it is again.

Those countries that do have laws against discrimination – whether these laws criminalize it or just give you a slap on the wrist or whatever- it's besides the point – those countries can be thought of as civil because they have some sort of redress, no matter how weak, against discrimination.

So allow me (the wimp) to explain it to you (the stud)

countires that have laws banning discrimination even if its just a fine are civil SINCE THERE IS SOME KIND OF REDRESS. countries which have NO laws banning discrimination are not.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

However, I do not think individual citizens, writers or politicians should be punished merely for expressing negative opinions of foreigners.

A better argument would be that punishment "merely for expressing negative opinions of foreigners" would open up the question of why not punish resident foreigners "merely for expressing negative opinions of Japanese." Hate speech should be treated as hate speech no matter who is targeted: Jews, Hispanics, blacks, LGBT, Koreans, Japanese, or any other ethnic, national, racial, sexual, or religious group.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Aly RustomJUN. 01, 2016 - 12:35PM JST

Another criticism of the law is that it “lacks teeth.”

And rightly so.

As I said, the road to hell is paved with good intention.

If we give severe punishment to hate speech, people become defensive. Naturally, they come up with the good idea to prevent themselves from committing a hate speech, which is "not to talk about and not to talk with foreigners." If one needs to talk with or about a foreigner, one should not have a candid conversation but should repeat what is politically correct.

Congratulations. You will never hear a hate speech in Japan any more, because no one will ever talk to you and no one will ever talk about you.

The road to hell is paved with good intention. Make your wish wisely for it may come true.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )


Even after having it explained to you that a distinction exists, you seem blissfully unaware of what the word crime actually means.

I'm very aware of what a crime is thank you very much.

Something can be "unlawful" or "illegal" without being a crime. You can break a law without committing a crime. Discrimination often falls into this category

I'm pretty sure that in most western countries, discrimination is punishable by a very hefty fine and in some cases jail time as well not to mention community service. Again it does depend on the country. But that's not my point at all. You've completely gone off on a separate tangent. My point is very simple:

A Country which has zero laws against discrimination is not civil. That's it. Now yes of course there are other countries which also don't have laws against discrimination. They too are not civil. Those countries that do have laws against discrimination – whether these laws criminalize it or just give you a slap on the wrist or whatever- it's besides the point – those countries can be thought of as civil because they have some sort of redress, no matter how weak, against discrimination.

Japan has zero laws against discrimination. In addition to that it has systematic and institutionalized discrimination. Therefore it is not civil.

That is my opinion. You're more than welcome to disagree with it if you want. But I happen to think that a society and government which openly tolerates and in some cases encourages and practices discrimination cannot be considered civil. That's all I'm trying to say.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@alyrustom

Obviously YOU didn't either since you are also just speculating.

I could have been, but I wasn't. I took the trouble to draw on what I already know of such things, to do some further digging around, and, in case you've forgotten, to post a link in my first comment which explains how in Australia, an act of discrimination may be illegal but not be a crime - just as other acts which are illegal are not automatically classified as crimes.

So, to elaborate on what I already know, I, like many people, am aware that hate speech is neither illegal nor a crime in the United States, because that would be considered to interfere with constitutional protections on freedom of speech. In a famous test case, this protection extended to burning a cross on the lawn of an African American family.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.A.V._v._City_of_St._Paul

And to elaborate further on what I know, I have heard of countless racially motivated acts in my own country, from non-violent discrimination to murder. What I have never heard of, from the 1970s to now, is a single case in which someone has gone to prison or been sentenced to community service for displaying a sign expressing discrimination, or for refusing to rent to people, or for not giving someone a job. These are treated as nonviolent noncriminal acts. In other words, there is a huge gap between what you say is the reality, and what actually happens on a day to day basis in the UK.

So far that's 3 countries in the west that don't neatly line up with your description.

OK! Lets see YOU give a BIG STRONG MACHO example.

They're in my earlier comments: harrassment, assault, vandalism, murder (and I'll add, as it has been quite common in the UK, racially motivated arson - often leading to death).

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/jan/10/northernireland.race

These are the kind of crimes that are actually punished severely if - and it's a big if - a successful prosecution is brought. But they also involve actions that are criminal whether done with racist intent or not. What you seem to be intent on doing is wrapping all that up with the kind of discrimination that doesn't get treated as a crime, and in fact is not classified as a crime, though it is illegal.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-24372509

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You did say "largely" but are you implying that Furutachi Ichiro and Kuniya Hiroko are actually gaijin in disguise? Or do they just have very vivid imaginations? Both lost their high-profile media jobs on TV in the past year, and I believe both alluded to government pressure as a problem that made doing their jobs difficult.

Saying that the government has made your job difficult is a long way from "war on the media." The government makes my job difficult but I would not characterize it as a "war on education."

Strictly speaking, Kuniya did not lose her job. She was an independent contractor with NHK and could not come to terms with NHK on renewal. There was talk of NHK wanting to dump her well before Abe came back into power.

When Furutachi resigned (he was not fired), he said "不自由な12年間だった。言っていっていいことと、いけないこと…大変な綱渡り状態でやってきた." "It's been twelve years without freedom. Things that it was OK to say. Things that it was not OK to say. I've been walking a tightrope." He doesn't specifically cite the Abe government and twelve years includes the period when the DPJ was in office.

Furutachi was a very devisive figure and attracted a large measure of criticism from the general public. It may well be that this was the cause of his departure.

I have some Japanese journalists friends. They do not feel a "war on the media." Similarly, some of the gaijin reporters who have written on alleged suppression of the press in Japan have stated the Japanese government has not done anything that the US or UK governments have not done and considerably less than the Korean government. But, while they say this in lecture presentations, they seem to leave this recognition out of their print stories. The repression emphasis probably attracts more eyeballs and clicks and US/UK readers may not want to be reminded of the problems with their own media.

More important, if you read carefully what the prominent gaijin writers (Fackler, McCurry, McNeill) on this subject say, there is no hard evidence of government interference leading to the departure of Kuniya and Furutachi.

I might accept the "war on the media" terminology if the Japanese government was taking correspondents to court or jailing bloggers the way Korea has done but until that happens I would suggest that such terminology is overblown.

And, just for reference, you might look at http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-32705450 which takes up the issue of whether the current British government has "declared war on the BBC." Also, this, one of many articles that see Obama as being very hostile to the press and investigative journalism. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/30/barack-obama-press-freedom-strong-media-stop-donald-trump Also http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/10/obama-leaks-aggressive-nixon-report-prosecution.

If there is indeed a "war on the media" in Japan, the country is in good company.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Good luck with that. The LDP and their bully boys have declared war on the media and any journalist poking a stick into the filty deeds of the police is just asking for the smack of firm government. It would be a brave journalist indeed who tried to expose the police in this current climate of media intimidation.

Utter tosh. Expose what on the part of the police? And, in case you haven't noticed, the press continues to dig up dirt on politicians right up to the top level. For example, Amari Akira, Abe's economic minister was forced to resign in January after his influence peddling was exposed in media reports.

The "war on the media" is largely a figment of the vivid imagination of the gaijin press corps in Japan. They seem to prefer to repeat the same allegations over and over again rather than get off their butts and do some serious investigative reporting of their own.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

There's nothing more adorbs than when Americans make the argument that libertarian or absolutist interpretations of freedom are the only possible way to have freedom, blissfully unaware that pretty much the rest of the world has found ways to make it work, and that even the US itself doesn't have unrestricted freedom of speech.

But more than most nations that's why the US is still the number one destination for many especially from countries where freedom, civil liberties are NON-existent.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

This hate speech law does not restrict Koreans making hate speech against the Japanese, but only restrict the Japanese.

Resident Koreans in Japan already enjoy many special privileges the Japanese and other foreigners don't have. It is only the Koeans that don't get their true names published but only the self-professed names when they committed crimes, and don't get deported unlike other long time foreign residents.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

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