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If the government restricts protests, which are based on the freedom of expression, by using restrictions on hate speech, it could endanger democracy. It will be an extremely dangerous move.

18 Comments

Ikuo Gonoi, associate professor of international political science at Takachiho University, who is well versed in hate speech issues. (Asahi Shimbun)

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NO !!!!!! He is WRONG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!....................- Gonoi sensei had NOT done his research . . . .Canada--- a great deomcracy - --- has EMBEDDED in its Constitution a Human Rights Act (1977)..................... This literally PROHIBITS discriminatory behaviour AND language (spoken & written ) based on RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, ETHNICITY, AGE, SEX, FAMILY STATUS , and more. . . . ............This law has TEETH...... ......Discriminatory acts/ language ar prosecuted . . and people are charged . . . ........................What happens is (1) people learn to co-exit and become tolerant.................. (2) we learn that 'FREEDOM of EXPRESSION, does NOT limit our creativity, & a ideas............At the same time, Freedom of Expression does NOT require HATE. . . .

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I think semperfi is right. Blanket legal acceptance of hate speech is wrong.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Restrictions on democracy! Now that's a real life crock!

Japan is one of the most regulated countries in the developed world. The tiers of govt bind the populace in many ways.

The media is strangled - ruled by corporate-ism, despotism, crony-ism, kohai-ism - and frequently avoids unpleasant truths or noteworthy facts.

In a democracy people have the right to voice their opinions - but in doing so need to curb outpourings of ethnic hate - ie keep the message, tone the language.

This is a public forum and rules of decorum dictate that I can't call Professor Ikuo Gonoi a " f**w" so I won't.

Is my right to freely express myself - you know be democratic - hindered? Not really, because I'll just call him ignorant of reason instead.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japanese democracy is its own special flavour of democracy which has slowly been moving toward the "Japanese" taste--Western flavours being too strong for the Japanese "taste." Or at least for the taste of the ruling elite, rightist prewar ruling class.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

philly1:

Japanese democracy is its own special flavor of democracy

Indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.-------------- Very true ........................... Just like UK democracy is expressed differently from South African Democracy............. . . .Moreover, when approaching Asia there is shift with respect to many aspects of world view; such as how individualism is integrated with group culture, and these impact the democratic ethos as well . . . .....................That is why NO DEMOCRACY is ALIKE . . .....................We can't just stamp USA or FRANCE - on every democratic system in different countries. . .

browny1

Restrictions on democracy! Now that's a real life crock!

EVERT DEMOCRACY also has restrictions . . ....Have you ever been to SINGAPORE ???? Lots of rules there . . . . . . .We do not have to reach too far in American politics to remember the War Measures Act GW legislated ( for a short period of time, TRUE) . . But it was a restriction, non the less , for the PROTECTION of the people & country.......... . . . . .Democratic Governments will / can/ and should impose restrictions for the protection of the people or the safety of the country . . . .

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes! Yes! Yes! to the professor. Freedom of speech is both necessary and sufficient for democracy, so why would you place restrictions on it that aren't necessary? The US does not have wide-scale racial, gender, or religion based hate being practiced openly despite having NO laws against hate speech. The correct response to the people that are so easily offended is "grow up".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Only South Korea and UN are demanding Japan restrict hate speech. I think SK and UN should stop meddling so much in Japan's internal affairs, and concentrate on their businesses.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I am sure you would feel very differently if you were a victim of hate-speech ms.tinawatanabe

2 ( +3 / -1 )

but that is an international issue then, if we are using your logic. Instead of striving to be better you want to stoop to that level? you want to be just like them?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tokiyo Don't make me laugh. Compared to in South Korea, hate speech is non existence in Japan.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Are you always this full of venom? If it was non existent, it wouldn't be in the news would it?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tokiyo Which one are you talking about? The one in Osaka? That one was handled by court, isn't it. In Okubo, I heard they have demonstrations demanding special privilege law for South Koreans nationals in Japan be abolished. I saw the demonstration on Youtube and they were not making any hate speech or placards. I do think however they should do that at Kasumigaseki or Nagata-cho. I don't support those demonstrations and don't mind them arrested on another charge, but I'm against any restriction on any speech.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Gonoi, this is very similar to the folks who think child porn should nit be restricted........sorry your wrong!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

GW

Gonoi, this is very similar to the folks who think child porn should nit be restricted........sorry your wrong!

Apples and oranges, GW.....besides you are off track.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

semperfi - where does my call regarding restriction of democracy (in the case on hand) is a crock, relate to Singapore or American war rules?

Please look at the issue being discussed without diverting attention by bringing up what other countries do or not do.

I simply stated that the democraticright to criticize is in effect inalienable, just that the choice of words depicting ethnic hate need to be moderated - not erased. eg "I strongly disapprove of A country's intolerable actions and their citizens intolerable actions" vs 'Kill all f** A s"

Your can of worms response stating all democracies are different has no bearing on this.

You are off track.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If the government restricts protests, which are based on the freedom of expression

It's not IF. Japan has always restricted protests, allowing only some of them. And in general freedom of expression is also limited in medias. The principle is already in action. They just need to redefine what to restrict. I think they could allow more (polite) criticism of the Imperial system, of government, politicians, big companies... and for the "patriots", well they already restrict them once in a while, a bit more wouldn't hurt. Then there is still a need to "educate" people on what can be said at school, at work, in shops... but that's probably the case everywhere.

by using restrictions on hate speech, it could endanger democracy.

By restricting aggressive behaviors, you endanger democracy ? Screaming hate and insulting people for being different from you is not giving an opinion, it's violence. Bullying is not democracy.

The US does not have wide-scale racial, gender, or religion based hate being practiced openly

That'd be what if that was openly ? Well, the US come from far. They are still in post-Apartheid phase. They still accept a lot of abuse because, the current amount is a fraction of what that was 2 generations ago.

despite having NO laws against hate speech.

The US no laws against speech ? Thanks for the ROFL. You can't even get a visa to sit in a plane that refuels on the American soil if you don't sign a paper stating you never belong to such or such political group that they deem hateful. And my point is not to say they are wrong to restrict, just to say they do. They definitely have to remind there exist limits to "freedom" to their KKK and such, and doubly, since they let them roam around with guns.

I saw the demonstration on Youtube and they were not making any hate speech or placards.

You saw one part of one demo that was OK. So ? Nobody wants to ban demos nor public debate. It's about setting limits and repressing abuses that sometimes occur.

I'm against any restriction on any speech.

Really ? Even if you and your family were on the receiving end ? So you'd tell what to your daughter Anne, 5 yr old ? Something like : "Oh, these people are just talking... that's ok if they hate the Jews, scream terrible things at you and want to put us in camps...if you can also insult them ? Er... I said I'm against restrictions, so Ok..."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You can't even get a visa to sit in a plane that refuels on the American soil if you don't sign a paper stating you never belong to such or such political group that they deem hateful.

Please show me this paper. I'm not saying it is impossible, but really? this restriction is so severe that a US citizen would not even know about it? As for restricting the KKK, I'm not aware of any restrictions. They demonstrate occasionally in major cities and have a lot of police protection from the anti-hate crowd...

"I cannot praise a fugitive and cloister'd vertue, unexercis'd & unbreath'd, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortall garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat." -John Milton

0 ( +0 / -0 )

...if you can also insult them ?

@Cos, I don't recommend to insult others, but everybody has experience of insulting others. Do you like a society where you get arrested just because you insulted somebody? How do you define insult? Most posters here would be arrested too. What you are concerned about can be dealt with existing laws, such as harassment or injury.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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