politics

Osaka body to decide what is or isn't hate speech

48 Comments

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has accepted the recommendation of a municipal panel that the city crack down on hate speech.

Specifically, the panel recommended setting up a body of legal experts to judge whether demonstrations and speech aimed at ethnic groups can be considered racist or hate speech, Sankei Shimbun reported Thursday. The panel also recommended that anyone who organizes or incites others to carry out hate speech should be publicly named and that victims of hate speech should receive financial support to file lawsuits.

The body of experts will hear from both sides before making a decision on a case-by-case basis. However, lawyer Yuko Kawasaki, who chaired the panel, said deciding whether there should be a penalty for hate speech would be difficult.

Hashimoto told reporters he hopes to have an ordinance passed this year to facilitate the panel's suggestions. He said it would be good if Osaka could become a city where there is no hate speech and set an example for other cities in Japan.

Osaka is home to the largest number of Korean residents and has been a hotbed of hate speech.

Hashimoto has been at loggerheads with Zaitokukai, a group that has repeatedly engaged in hate speech against Korean residents in Japan. Last October, a meeting between Hashimoto and Makoto Sakurai, the chairman of Zaitokukai, ended after only 10 minutes when both men started shouting at each other.

Hashimoto told Sakurai and his group to stop their hate speech against ethnic groups. “We don’t need racists like you here in Osaka,” Hashimoto said.

Zaitokukai, which claims to have more than 10,000 members, organizes hate speech rallies and argues that the Japanese government should not grant special rights to Koreans living in Japan.

© Japan Today

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48 Comments
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Wait a minute...I thought the very term "to pull a Hashimoto" these days meant to be a bigot?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Being known as a city that censors speech isn't something to be proud of. Osaka is the worst city in Japan already, don't make it worse.

-17 ( +3 / -20 )

"Osaka is home to the largest number of Korean residents and has been a hotbed of hate speech".

"Zaitokukai, which claims to have more than 10,000 members, organizes hate speech rallies and argues that the Japanese government should not grant special rights to Koreans living in Japan."

Zaitokukai

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Don't they hate all foreigners?

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Specifically, the panel recommended setting up a body of legal experts to judge whether demonstrations and speech aimed at ethnic groups can be considered racist or hate speech.

Let me make it easy for you. It IS racist. It IS hate speech. This doesn't require a body of legal experts to figure out.

I'm very glad to hear that Hashimoto is against these morons. A shouting match erupted between those two. Nice. A slightly new found respect for the Hash.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Being known as a city that censors speech isn't something to be proud of.

Absolutely ridiculous. Hate speech is illegal in multiple countries that have freedom of speech around the world. Freedom of speech is not the right to say whatever you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want. If you disagree, walk over to your nearest airport and tell someone you have a bomb, and see the results.

Hate speech should be illegal, and it's good that Japan is working to make it so.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Zaitokukai are cowards. If they really hate all gaijin, they should go American Military bases & stir up controversy there. Perhaps they dont got the "guts" to do such. So they pick-on Koreans.

I dnt like Hashimoto, but he did bravely stand up to Zaitokukai's leader.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Hashimoto told reporters he hopes to have an ordinance passed this year to facilitate the panel’s suggestions. He said it would be good if Osaka could become a city where there is no hate speech and set an example for other cities in Japan.

Can't believe I am saying this, but I agree with Hashimoto. Obviously, there is a danger of creating a bunch of "language police", who have too much power in determining what is appropropriate. But, assuming the intent is simply aimed at eliminating hate speech, so minorities like the Korean residents of Japan can feel more welcome, then I support this 100%. By the way, would "hate speech against ethnic groups" include all minorities?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

For all the change in Japanese society since the end of World War II, different is still a very painful way to feel here.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Have to agree. After some months in office I started to disagree with many things Hashimoto initiated.

This one, however, looks good! There should be no hate speech, there should be no racism.

On top of this, get rid of Zaitokukai!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Freedom of speech is not the right to say whatever you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want.

Glad we got that straight. I feel much safer knowing that a handful of honourable politicians will decide what I am allowed to say and when I am allowed to say it. That's true freedom.

There are plenty of ways to reign in racist kooks without giving up free speech. The very idea of "hate speech" is a violation of the concept of free speech. Existing laws against making threats, disturbing public order, assault, etc. are more than adequate. Always disappointing to see how well-intentioned people can be so easily led into fascism.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Why do they allow that gang "rallies" on first place?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

There are plenty of ways to reign in racist kooks without giving up free speech. The very idea of "hate speech" is a violation of the concept of free speech.

No.

And you obviously don't know how 'hate speech' is defined. (Hint - it's not defined by saying you hate something)

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Strangerland is right.

And here is the definition (quite some reading)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Good luck with that can of worms, "Osaka body".

5 ( +5 / -0 )

klausdorthFeb. 27, 2015 - 08:11AM JST

Have to agree. After some months in office I started to disagree with many things Hashimoto initiated.

This one, however, looks good! There should be no hate speech, there should be no racism.

Road to hell is paved with gold.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I think they should let Japanese speak their minds. I don't mind seeing Zainichi Koreans leave Japan and migrate back to Korea. South Korea needs more immigrants anyway. I think Japan is for Japanese only.

-15 ( +2 / -17 )

i don't think laws punishing hate speech accomplishes anything. it just drives the hate underground where it festers and is more alluring due to its anonymity. let's identify them and shame them into stopping. let's hold bigger rallies when they rally. MLK and gandhi believe that when faced with hate, you have to show love and compassion.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

deciding whether there should be a penalty for hate speech would be difficult

stand by for an expensive toothless tiger, then?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is tricky. Throughout much of Europe there are harsh laws for Hate Speech, which is anything that could incite violence, or something that "insults" or "degrades" or "expresses contempt" or "incites hatred" of a segment of the population.

And People have been jailed for saying things against homosexuals or for questioning the Holocaust or 9/11, but cartoonists or filmmakers get away with far more than those average citizens who verbalize the same things, just the presentation is different.

Can someone make a satirical cartoon mocking Mohammed but can't say negative things against Koreans? You can argue both actions insult, degrade, or incites violence.

The US protects Hate Speech under the first amendment. Many hate groups use US internet url's because they're protected under the First Amendment. Does that mean the US has more racists than, say, in France where Jewish graves were just desecrated? No.

I think there should be laws where hate groups shouldn't be allowed near schools, or the harassment of a particular group, and standard laws like disturbing the peace should apply as well, but I don't think someone should arrested for verbalizing their views like I think cartoonists and filmmakers are allowed to practice their art.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yes, and we all know how well the government does things like this! /s

Whenever I see stories like this, I always cringe.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, muppet.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Others countries have well established parameters as to what constitutes hate speech. It isn't bloody rocket science.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Well, what exactly are the definitions? I think it should only cover hate speech that can reasonably be determined to be inciting hate crimes or used to create certain atmospheres or abusing public figure positions, etc. Hate speech by itself, in private, etc. should be legal

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hate speech means those speech that condemn another party. So actually its quite normal for a political opposition party.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"> Specifically, the panel recommended setting up a body of legal experts to judge whether demonstrations and speech aimed at ethnic groups can be considered racist or hate speech. > "

Sorry, but anyone who needs to even think about this has no right to call themself an expert, andthat's why this "decision process" is scary. I worry they'll all say the mentionof sex-slaves is "hate", but demanding Korean zainichi "ockroaches" die or leave, etc. will be "debatable". HASHIMOTO to his credits openly against the Zaitoku-Kai, but atthe same time has denied the Nnjing Massacre and the military's roe in coercing/forcing women not sexual slavery in WWIi. Something definitely needs to be done, though.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Hashimoto told Sakurai and his group to stop their hate speech against ethnic groups. “We don’t need racists like you here in Osaka,” Hashimoto said.

Wow. I can't believe I will write this, but good for you, Hashimoto! Keep on this path, please.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Lol, constricting free speech doesn't seem to solve the real problem of hate that brews from the ideology of the Zaitokukai. Constituting the boundaries of hate speech is completely arbitrary, and is likely to be abused by those in power to control the mainstream dialogue. What we need to do is to promote intellectual dialogue through mediums of education, and change the fundamental way people talk and think about ethnicity, race, and culture in Japan. Yelling at one another does not accomplish anything.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yuzo: true, but then arresting drug pushers doesn't eliminate that problem, either, but should we therefore give them free reign to sell? Society needs to address issues of internal racism on the whole, of course, but this stopping those who use it to actively discriminate is necessary. Supplement that with the education and dialogue you speaks (vice-versa) and I agree.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

don't think laws punishing hate speech accomplishes anything. it just drives the hate underground

Good. That's where it should be. It has no place out in the open.

Lol, constricting free speech doesn't seem to solve the real problem

Making hate speech illegal is not constricting free speech.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

These phrases from the Japanese protestors against Koreans are uttered daily during the marches. I will list these phrases, you decide if they are hate speech or they are different opinions that needs to be protected.

"Kill all the Korean cock roaches!" "Fumigate Japan and get rid of Korean rats!" "If you cockroach Koreans don't listen, we will start another Nanjing massacre!" "Rape all the Korean whores!" "Go back to Korea!" "Die Koreans before you will be killed!"

So are these free speech that need to be protected, or hate speech? Which are they? At what level do some people start accepting that this is unacceptable? Until these groups start attacking the Koreans physically? Then should Japan do something or let it go again as freedom of expression?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

And you obviously don't know how 'hate speech' is defined.

By all means. Enlighten me. How will hate speech be defined? Will it be defined in a way that will allow journalists and writers to be put on trial for expressing reasonable political opinions, as it has been in Canada, the UK and Europe?

The problem is exactly that: you don't know how it will be defined. Historically, the record is not promising. That's why such a big deal is made of free speech. Your protestations aside, laws against "hate speech", by definition, constrict free speech. You are taking an inarguable position there.

If you want to argue that you are willing to give up your rights for a little security, then that's another thing. Hate speech laws take away some freedom of speech. That's indisputable. The question is how much freedom they take away. You can't know that as you are not privy to how it will be defined by future governments.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan already has laws against libel, insult, threat and so on. No need for new laws that could be abused to prosecute criticism against the government.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I say let them hate. You can't legislate what people think. Japan is only for Japanese, they should have the freedom to do whatever they like. It's their country. I don't want to see any Koreans in Japan, hopefully the message will grow wider.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

By all means. Enlighten me. How will hate speech be defined?

Did you not read the link given in the next post?

Hate speech is, outside the law, speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability, or sexual orientation.

In law, hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group. The law may identify a protected individual or a protected group by certain characteristics.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech

The problem is exactly that: you don't know how it will be defined.

I know how it is defined. I don't know how the Japanese will define it. It may be that I oppose their definition of it, but that will be an objection to their definition, not the entire concept. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt until I see how they define it.

laws against "hate speech", by definition, constrict free speech.

No.

You are taking an inarguable position there.

Except that I've argued it. No matter how much it bothers you to be wrong, free speech is not the right to say whatever you want, wherever you want, to whomever you want. Again, if you disagree, go to the nearest airport and tell them you have a bomb in your bag, and after you get out of jail, let us know your story.

Hate speech laws take away some freedom of speech. That's indisputable.

It is disputable, because hate speech is not covered under freedom of speech.

No need for new laws that could be abused to prosecute criticism against the government.

Incorrect. There is a need for laws to protect against hate speech. There is no need for laws that prevent the people's right to criticize the government. But they are separate things - saying you hate the government is not covered under the definition of hate speech.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

From your link, taken at random: "...it is prohibited to publish articles that are likely to jeopardize national unity, incite others to commit crimes, stir up hostility, and foment hatred, division and discord between members of society."

That definition could include several posts in this thread, and certainly a great deal of political discourse. Those "definitions" are typical of hate speech laws. Wide open to the interpretation of whoever happens to be in power.

By your definition, handcuffs don't constrict our freedom of movement. You haven't made an argument, you've just stated what you think is so, without any logical support.

As others have said, there are already plenty of laws that could be used to arrest these scum. To date, the government has chosen not to use them. It's a very convenient excuse for them to pass new laws restricting freedom of speech. They will equally choose to use, or not use, those new laws as they see fit. Sadly, too many people don't think past immediate consequences - they just let the government do what they want, the way they want. As long as it looks like they are doing something. It's an intellectually lazy and very dangerous attitude.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"...it is prohibited to publish articles that are likely to jeopardize national unity, incite others to commit crimes, stir up hostility, and foment hatred, division and discord between members of society."

With the exception of the 'jeopardize national unity', it sounds reasonable to me.

By your definition, handcuffs don't constrict our freedom of movement.

Um, no. By my definition, freedom of speech does not mean that we have the right to say whatever we want, wherever we want, to whomever we want. I said nothing about handcuffs, or freedom of movement. You are the only one talking about that.

As others have said, there are already plenty of laws that could be used to arrest these scum.

So if the laws are already there, then it means that their speech has restrictions, which according to you means that freedom of speech has already been restricted. And yet, no one is being prosecuted for speaking ill of the government. So your theory seems to fall apart.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

StrangerlandFeb. 27, 2015 - 01:20PM JST

The law may identify a protected individual or a protected group by certain characteristics.

Japanese constitution demands indiscriminately application of law. So, it is most likely unconstitutional to designate ethnic Koreans as protected group while not designating ethnic Japanese, or to designate Korean Labor Party as protected group while not designating LDP. Any speech that would incite hate against Japanese or Japanese political parties will be a crime and anyone who makes such a speech will be jailed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese constitution demands indiscriminately application of law.

Therein lies the problem that they are trying to fix.

it is most likely unconstitutional to designate ethnic Koreans as protected group while not designating ethnic Japanese, or to designate Korean Labor Party as protected group while not designating LDP. Any speech that would incite hate against Japanese or Japanese political parties will be a crime and anyone who makes such a speech will be jailed.

And if they start using the law that way, I'll be as vociferous as anyone in decrying it.

But I don't think that currently unfounded fears are justification for allowing the continuation of hate speech against ethnic Koreans.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I'll be as vociferous as anyone in decrying it.

LOL. Except you won't be able to, under the very hate speech laws you supported. The world just keep going round, playing the same old song....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Panel findings are in: anything you say that is negative toward Japan or is unpatriotic is hate speech. Ragging on foreigners and Zainichi Koreans is still okay.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I never heard the Zaitokukai make hate speeches. All they want is the special privilieges Koreans have being abolished.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Assuming that any law is ratified I cannot see it being used against Japanese to protect foreigners - everything I have seen here points to the opposite when the police deal with foreigners it is always the foreigners that come off worse, no matter the situation....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Laws that regulate what can and cannot be said are a slippery slope. If speech that hurts others should be forbidden then politicians arguing for invading other countries, e.g. US and Iraq, should be punished for making a case for war, as that will certainly hurt others. Instead I think that anyone should be free to say whatever they want, as long as they don't force anyone to hear it. What I mean is, if someone wants to rent a room and have a go at a certain minority, I am not forced to hear it and no one else is. Who wants to participate is free to do so. It is surprising how many people are willing to give up freedom to politicians and police.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Osaka ,,,, Not only Koreans. there are many Japanese who have been suffered hate speech against them for generations. All hate speech have to be outlawed. Kind of hard in Japan if you are not minority. Your peers ask constantly why you don't insult them. If you eat kimuchi, they will tell you that you will reincarnate to garlic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

pecifically, the panel recommended setting up a body of legal experts to judge whether demonstrations and speech aimed at ethnic groups can be considered racist or hate speech

A panel of experts? How about using common sense instead. It's not rocket science, people

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Christopher: common sense is OK but common sense can not make new legal system. So, common sense of legal experts will be used/ Maybe common sense of attorneys who have experience in defending hate speech attacked people/It says panel of legal expert, It does not say panel of rocket scientist ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

" Akemi Mokoto at Feb. 27, 2015 - 07:12AM JST Being known as a city that censors speech isn't something to be proud of. Osaka is the worst city in Japan already, don't make it worse."

Osaka the worst city in Japan? That is your opinion but the facts show that Tokyo gets that distinction. Tokyo takes money from everyone in Japan via taxes and their designation as capital to waste it on numerous unneeded projects, hosting the Olympics which no one outside Tokyo gives a flipping f*** about, and more corruption than China as a whole probably. Go back to Tokyo and leave us alone. But I do agree that banning hate speech is foolish. After all, we do have to have something to do down here in Osaka.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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