Local gov'ts precede state in efforts against hate speech in Japan


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Hate speech targeting ethnic minorities in Japan often includes threats to kill people of certain nationalities and extreme insults such as comparing certain groups of people to cockroaches or other creatures, or remarks like "go back to your home country."

Ethnic minorities? Really now, Koreans and Japanese have common ethnic roots, and the writer of this article is doing their damndest to not name them.

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Both Chinese and Koreans receive quite a lot of abuse that has seen them form large communities in Japan.

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a draft ordinance unveiled by the Kawasaki city office on June 24 stipulates criminal penalties for discrimination

Good but make sure the draft is watertight and leaves no room for interpretation.

As long as the criminal penalty is based on hard evidence I see no problem with the measure.

"members passionate about human rights were opposed to criminal penalties or any restrictions on freedom of speech."

> "We must be careful not to undermine an individual's freedom of speech,"

Freedom of speech does not mean that you can use blatant racism against ethnic minorities it only means you can express valid criticism.

There is a world of difference between the two it really is not that difficult.

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Freedom of speech.

That includes vile racist language. Why should Japan be held to a different standard?

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Why not extend the definition of "Hate Speech" to include sarcastic comments about people who are fat , skinny, bald,short,lanky,pale,dark, or any one of the many other variations of appearance. In Japanese words such as Ijin,Ketoujin, Mikaikokujin, Inakamono, Yamazaru ,Chosenjin, Kuronbou, It,s a prospective minefield.

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Freedom of Speech and Hate Speech will always be at war with each other.

That is why many racist people in America are free to say certain things. However, there are other laws that help curb certain things. Verbal assault and hate crimes are examples of this. Verbal assault applies to any circumstances where a person verbally threatens someone or envokes feelings of fear of imminent danger within a person. Should the verbal assault cross the line of race, gender, religion, or similar subjects then it crosses into the field of felony hate crimes.

There is no perfect system, but trying to limit something can go a long way towards helping others feel more at ease with being themselves.

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The cornerstone of democracy is citizen participation in putting forward political ideas for new legislation. Some people will inevitably hold bad or unpopular ideas, some will have wrong or incomplete information, and some will lack the intelligence and social skills to express themselves articulately enough to avoid causing gross offence. Do any of these people really deserve to be punished by the state? Laws against hate speech seem to seriously erode the basic principles of democracy. It effectively means that certain topics are either off limits for discussion or very dangerous to discuss publicly.

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Suppression of speech, no matter how vile, is the first step towards eventual suppression of all free thought and will.

People should be free to say what they want, and people should definitely feel free to say something back. If Japanese right wingers want to spout their filth, let them. Counter demonstrators also have the right to fight back.

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I despise the current global move towards "hate speech" legislation, no matter how well intentioned.

It is dangerous and will be used by the powerful to suppress speech they don't like.

People should be held accountable for their actual actions, but should be free to speak their ideas, no matter how vile they may be!!

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Both Chinese and Koreans receive quite a lot of abuse that has seen them form large communities in Japan.

Prove it. Anyway, it goes both ways. Korean and Chinese are saying and doing very hateful things to Japanese, and hurting their feelings. Its no wonder Japanese are finally standing up for Japan and pushing b ack.

People should be free to say what they want, 

Yet again Old man is 100% right. Freedom of speech and expression should never be taken away. These local bodies have no power to impose any penalties on people speaking their mind.

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Hate speech laws don't work and usually go too far, leading to repression of legitimate speech.

The best deterent to real hate speech is to ignore the speaker/s.

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It is dangerous and will be used by the powerful to suppress speech they don't like.

The draft is about using extreme insults towards ethnic minorities.

It doesn't say you are not allowed to criticize the powerful which of course we must continue to do.

Is "Send her back" hate speech when aimed at an African Muslim immigrant who is a naturalized citizen?

Of course it is, if there is a need to take away the nationality of a naturalized citizen and send he/she back that is for the court to decide not the masses.

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Speach? Who cares what someone says or thinks? In my country (USA) we continue in our effort toward freedom and liberty by using the rule of law. So far we have seven protected classes: Race, Color, Religion, Sex, Handicap, Family Status, National Origin. I suspect sexual orientation and others will be added. So, it's against the law to rent an apartment and exclude any tenants based on the above. You can hate me and call me gaijin but you can't not rent to me because you are not allowed to do business and discriminate. Hate? That's something people have to work through themselves...

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Its no wonder Japanese are finally standing up for Japan and pushing b ack.

Eh? Finally?

There has been a long, dark history of Japanese people saying awful things to and doing awful things to Koreans and Chinese in Japan. Check out what happened after the 1923 earthquake.

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It would seem that Japans central government is out of touch with local government, thus out of touch with ordinary citizens.

Perhaps Japan is becoming a proper democracey.

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Threats to kill should always be taken seriously. That isn't under the umbrella of free speech in other countries.

But the harsh words of a racist should be protected even though it's horrible.

Once we start limiting speech, it doesn't end. Everyone interprets offensive language differently and we could end up being banned from saying things like "there are two genders" or even "foreigners are causing a lot of crime".

An American I worked with called me an animal, I don't know why though, and we are different races. While he's a terrible person, it is not the government's job to stop him from speaking. And I reserve the right to call him something back, though I decided he isn't worth my time. I would say he's a roach not worth stepping on and I shouldn't be punished for that.

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The best deterent to real hate speech is to ignore the speaker/s

Agreed, Mind you, it is difficult simply to just ignore those people with black clothes in sound trucks. When I am close to them, I can't help bt burst out laughing at them.

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most of the racist in Japan are just punks, they will only say it if they are hiding behind caged windows in a green or black van or marching in numbers with others. I was followed by them once, all the while yelling at me on his speaker. Many other Japanese were laughing. Those kind of things should be controlled, if they make somebody feel humiliation etc.

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Insulting others, telling them to die or to go back to their countries is NOT part of the freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech must be exercised through good manners and polite tones, and most of all, respect for others, even when their opinion differs from yours. This is the base of a civilized society, not hate.

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@EleonoraToday  05:21 pm JST

Insulting others, telling them to die or to go back to their countries is NOT part of the freedom of speech.

OK, I ask you to defend that position, since a literal interpretation of those words will imply that all speech, including insults, demand to die and going back to their countries are free.

If anything, hate speech criminalization actually provides a solid reason to hate a minority. In essence you are taking rights away from the majority to benefit a minority's feelings. If Zainichi didn't have Special Rights before, they do now, and at the detriment to the majority.

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@Kazuaki Shimazaki

you have the freedom to hate whoever you want, at your house you can do whatever you want, of course.

I am a passionate supporter of human rights and freedom (and of course I realize that limiting free speech is very dangerous, since it can limit personal freedom and the government can just ban whatever it doesn't like).

I just think that, even if you hate someone, you should be civilized enough to say your opinion in a decent manner.

What you say about protecting a minority taking away part of freedom of a majority is right, but it's also a very complex topic. Someone's right of free speech can't interfere with someone's right to live a peaceful life, or someone's right to decide where to live. For example, everyone is free to move across the world (respecting the immigration laws of course) so if I decide to live in Japan, abiding to all the laws, I am entitled to stay there and live my life, but for example if some Japanese come to me and shout at me on the street to go away, they are endangering that right, and also causing me psychological problems (potentially). I understand that their freedom of speech must be protected (and I agree) but I am against hurting others with speech. I just would like a utopia-like society where people are well mannered.

Anyway, I understand what you say and I can't say it's wrong, it's just that I can't completely agree with you (due to my personal beliefs).

Also, at least in Europe (where I live, and where human rights were historically discussed and developed first), threatening someone to kill him/her is a felony (in Italy, where I'm from, it's punished with a fine and, if it's a particularly serious threat, you could go to jail for 1 year).

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PS: I forgot to mention that laws can be interpreted in different ways, and are not only interpreted literally (at least in the West). But maybe in Japan it doesn't quite work this way? I would like to read something about it.

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"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" An old saying but a good one for today. Just forget the insults and get on with our lives.

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Sticks and stones...

I have not heard that in ages; time for a come back...

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As disgusting as some people's speech may be and as much as I dislike speech demeaning others there are serious dangers (as many pointed out already) of allowing someone to define what hate speech is. The unintended consequences are fairly easy to imagine.

It seems humanity is reaching a point where people are at the same time becoming so intolerant of each other and so hypersensitive that at some point people will beg the government to intervene and provide "safe spaces" for all.

It seems this would lead to totalitarian control over what people can say, write, and eventually perhaps think. It is not a world in which I would want to live. I would rather be the recipient of a hateful comment now and then.

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Don't go down the PC road Japan. Look at what is going on in the west. That road goes nowhere good. I'm a foreigner who lives here. I've heard some nasty comments by people who thought I didn't understand Japanese. Let them be ignorant. Words don't hurt.

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Great, start by arresting all those boys driving up and down in Black buses with the Himawari flag training behind them, as they blast out hate speech towards the neighbouring Countries.

Doubt it will ever happen....

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Clean the heart and mind. then hate speech will disappear.

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