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