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Osaka’s move on hate speech should be just the first step

Ordinance officially 'Japanizes' the naming and shaming of haters, which is a good start

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On Jan. 15 the Osaka Prefectural Assembly passed the first local ordinance against hate speech in Japan. JBC sees this as a step in the right direction.

Until now, there was no way to define what “hate speech” was, let alone take any measures against it. Defining a problem is fundamental to finding a solution.

Moreover, passing an ordinance makes a general statement to society that the existence of hate speech is not only undeniable but also impermissible. This matters, given Japan’s high tolerance for racist outbursts from public officials and clear cases of bullying and intimidation that have otherwise been protected under “freedom of speech” (genron no jiyū). Osaka has made it clearer that there is a limit to what you can say about groups of people in public.

However, this still isn’t quite at the stage where Osaka can kvell. There are no criminal or financial penalties for haters. An earlier version of the ordinance offered victims financial assistance to take their cases to court, but that was cut to get the measure passed. Also, an adjudicating committee (shinsa-kai) can basically only “name and shame” haters by warning and publicizing them on a government website — in other words, it can officially frown upon them.

Even the act of creating a law against hate speech has invited criticism for opening up potential avenues to policymaker abuse. They have a point: Tampering with freedom of speech invites fears, quite reasonably, about slippery slopes to censorship. So let’s address the big question right now: Should there ever be limits put on what you can say?

JBC argues yes. Freedom of speech is not an absolute. You cannot just say anything, anywhere, anytime. We already have the prototypical argument against shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and obviously freedom of speech does not allow people to perjure or defraud. The general consensus in legal circles is that people should in principle not be allowed to advocate harm against other people. In sum, when speech encourages panic, violence or a general breakdown in social order, the State generally steps in to quell it (if only for the State’s own preservation).

But even beyond the law school hypotheticals, laws against defamation, libel and slander — i.e., telling lies or generating harmful rumors about people — are quite normal and uncontroversial in any developed judiciary. Japan already has measures against meiyo kison (damage to honor), albeit not in its Criminal Code. This means you have to take whatever bothers you to civil court and convince a judge that a) your reputation has been provably damaged by the speech (just claiming emotional distress, or seishin kutsū, is insufficient) and b) this has affected you financially, so you can quantify the damages you should be awarded. I know. I’ve done it, successfully (see “2-Channel, the bullies’ forum,” JBC, Feb. 3, 2009).

Thus hate speech is an offshoot of libel and slander, in that the damage extends beyond the individual into the group. Are people allowed to publicly denigrate or advocate violence or discrimination towards entire segments of a society? In Japan until now, yes, they could. Japan essentially restricted defamatory tort claims to the individual.

However, after a number of embarrassing events that attracted international attention, including a famous anti-Korean demo in Osaka in 2013 where a schoolgirl advocated that Koreans be killed a la the Nanking Massacre, people began to see that a line had been crossed. Further, placards in Tokyo that same year advocating the killing of “all Koreans, good or bad” raised awareness that this public hatred was not an isolated incident.

A court decision, also in 2013, ruled that denigrating and vandalistic behavior towards a Korean school in Osaka by a hate group was legally punishable (as “illegal discrimination,” not hate speech per se). And the Justice Ministry issued its first ever official warning specifically for hate speech to the former leader of that hate group last December. Thus Osaka has merely converted court precedents into officially sanctioned social opprobrium.

It’s not as if Osaka is doing anything unique. Laws prohibiting advocating discrimination and inciting racially or ethnically based hatred exist in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland, to name a few. Some countries’ laws go even further, criminalizing specific incitements, such as genocide or Holocaust denial (Belgium, Canada and Finland).

You may not agree with the boundaries being set there (after all, each society has a different history it is reacting to), but they are indeed set.

And there is an international consensus backing them up: the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states, “Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.” Japan acceded to the ICCPR way back in 1979, so Osaka’s ordinance is in fact 37 years overdue.

Now that Osaka has done it, other municipalities are feeling emboldened. According to the Asahi Shimbun, on Jan. 18, 64 labor unions, local groups and assembly members announced the formation of the Kawasaki Citizens’ Network against Hate Speech, calling for official measures to be passed this year. Since Tottori Prefecture passed Japan’s first anti-racial discrimination law in 2005, only to have social pressure force it to be un-passed months later (see “How to kill a bill,” Zeit Gist, May 2, 2006), this is indeed progress.

As far as JBC is concerned, the most important outcome of the Osaka ordinance is the normalizing of “naming and shaming.” Activists in Japan who have publicized, for example, the existence of establishments with “Japanese only” signs, have often been accused of acting “un-Japanese,” as if exposing racists is somehow uncouth in stoic, passive-aggressive Japan. Now Osaka has officially “Japanized” the act of pointing fingers and stigmatizing haters.

That will probably put paid to most of them, at least in the Osaka area. For those who spout hatred as a way of life, whose sociopathy has switched off any possibility of feeling shame, we will need more potent laws later, and on a national level.

But for now, let us celebrate this step in the right direction, and let cases and precedents sharpen future legislation accordingly, as they have in civilized countries worldwide. Thank you, Osaka. Who’s next?

Debito Arudou’s latest book, “Embedded Racism,” is available from Amazon, or directly from the publisher with 30 percent off. See www.debito.org/embeddedracism.html. Twitter: @arudoudebito. Your comments and story ideas: community@japantimes.co.jp

  • tisho

    I am absolutely against hate speech law. Shaming the bigots – Yes. Naming and calling them out – Yes. Silencing them? Absolutely no. That’s what free society is all about. Hate speech law is different from slander because defamation only works if you can prove that a lie or an intentional misinformation by someone has caused you or your business to lose money, if you can’t prove that, then you don’t have a case, most of the time in the US defamation is a rich men game, people like Donald Trump sue others just to show off, even though in the process there is 99% chance that the case will be dropped. I don’t see how calling someone cockroach or some racial slur can cause the person to lose money, i don’t see how that is provable, certainly not in the US where these things are looked under a microscope.

    You’re not living in a free society if you don’t have the freedom to offend others. There is virtually nothing anyone can say that is not going to be offensive to some group. Furthermore, anti-discrimination laws hurt the minorities the most, so this is yet another case of – good intentions producing bad results.

    When you silence someone, you are not going to make him stop believing the things he believe, you will only make him be afraid to talk about these things and discuss them openly. Silencing discussions and debate is the worst thing you can do. Free speech is oppressed person’s strongest weapon. Driving certain ideas or thoughts underground does nothing to eliminate them, and preventing them from being expressed is an absence of opportunity to persuade them. Societal change is only possible through the power of persuasion, which in tern relies on a system in which ideas can be expressed and debated without official censorship. Its like a market place of ideas.

    Dispute is a function of free speech. Freedom of expression matters exactly because it allows us to hear unpopular and controversial views. When you allow an open expression of a hateful opinion, you create opportunity to publicly refute them. Allowing offensive speech promotes the progress of human understanding. When you silence dissenting or minority views, you create ignorance by design. There is a Japanese term called 反面教師 which helped persuade more people than any government law can ever do, 反面教師 can exist only in a market place of ideas, if people are not allowed to express their hateful thoughts, people will not be able to learn from them.

    Anti-Discrimination laws are much are the minimum wage law. It sounds good, but it does more harm than good, it is harmful and bad for the exact people it is designed to help.

    A famous economist and once said: ”If there are Nazis in the room, i wanna know who they are so i can keep an eye on them”.

    If you want to eliminate hateful speech, think in terms of media and educational system changes.

    • VoltronX

      Debito is just trying to get his editorial quota out by giving us 2 pages of nonsense. The Japan Times will pretty much give anyone a column here and they are all crap… Well atleast they show you how awful it is before you buy it.

      • Toolonggone

        >The Japan Times will pretty much give anyone a column here

        That’s why “Community” page is there for people. And what kind of writings make you feel good? A piece of crap written by the Eli Broad and Gates-funded pro-privatization editorial board like NYT or LA times?

      • VoltronX

        Well if you thought this was a proper editorial, then maybe you should read some more of his hard hitting pieces, like that stupid McDonalds commercial where the guy speaks in broken Japanese. That really gets Debito wound up.

        There’s tons of issues facing foreigners in Japan that are more pressing.
        1) Try renting an apartment as a foreigner
        2) Japanese companies don’t like to follow labor laws
        3) Japanese companies don’t like to pay Shakai Hoken.

        But then again, this is a nonsense Japan Times fluff piece. DISCRIMINATION IS BAD. MAKE LAW . RAW RAW RAW

      • Blair

        As evidenced by the deleted comment above free speech is not supported by JT

    • fun_on_tv

      Sorry I don’t understand your point. You said you are against hate speech laws, but we should name and shame people who do hate speech. That is what the hate speech law does. No-one gets arrested or put in prison.
      In Japan it does feel like some politicians like baiting people. So no amount of re-education will change people’s mind. By the way, it’s the same with people who join a cult. Rather than face the reality of the truth/situation, they twist the facts in order to avoid such a situation. also re-education is a difficult one too. Part of the problem is that the Japanese education system has the idea of being Japanese. So it entrenches Japanese nationalism. I don’t see that going away any time soon.
      About 5 years ago the BBC invited the British Nation Party, a party that wants ‘non-whites’ out, on to a today debating show. Many politicians wouldn’t debate with him. Luckily some did. His views were aired and quickly dealt with by the panel and the audience. Soon after their popularity drop like a stone. People quickly realise the BNP were talking nonsense.
      Your link of the minimum wage and hate speech is a strange one. Even was an influx of 2 million Eastern European workers the UK we have seen the lowest employment for years. The minimum wage has stopped wage suspression. Or maybe I am missing your point.

      • tisho

        Naming and shaming the bigots is one thing, silencing them is another. I don’t agree that no amount of re-education will change people’s mind. There are plenty of things that can be done to address the problem. You’re not going to wake up one day living in a post hateful society, you have to work towards that end, and realize that it will take time, it is a slow process unfortunately. Some changes that i would propose for Japan would be: Teach kids to think for themselves and not to follow the herd. Another one would be, financial penalty for false information in the media. If a licensed media is caught reporting false information that cannot be verified, they shall face a severe financial penalty. In my opinion that would help slow down the main source of hate in Japan, which is the media constantly lying and reporting false stuff. If you criminalize media lying, you will create an incentive for rivalry media to scrutinize each other and be careful what they report, Sankei alone constantly reports lies that people believe, if you criminalize that, they would think twice before reporting a lie next time. I can think of so many examples of lies reported by NHK, Sankei, Yomiuri and more. Next step could be for private organizations and individual people to step up their educational campaign and awareness of these issues, not to silence them, but to talk openly about them and dispel any false rumors and false ideas. Your example proves my point, it was by exposing their ideas that created that awareness of the issue, that created opportunity for people to learn for themselves that these people are lunatics and reject their ideas, hiding it did nothing to eliminate them, exposing them helped eliminate them.

        My point about the minimum wage was that it is the same like hate speech law. It sounds right, it feels right, but in reality it does more harm than good, it hurts the same people it is meant to help. Decisions should be made only after closely examining all sides and scenarios to make sure it will lead to a good result, not by what feels right to do. First of all i don’t like the way you’re grouping all people as ”eastern europeans” and putting them in a box, as far as i can see, you have more southern europeans than eastern europeans, yet i never hear you talk about them. Why would you group an entire region and put them labels? Each individual has its own skills and experience. No offense but you seem to share a lot of the bigoted thinking Japanese have. Second of all, your unemployment and economic growth is mostly due to the relatively little regulations you have compared to mainland Europe, but that is an entire different subject for another time.

      • fun_on_tv

        BNP has never been arrested for hate speech. They are too clever for that. Challenging them on the accuracy of their “facts” does. Hate speech is illegal in the UK too. Interestingly enough it’s been mainly Muslims who have been arrested for hate crime (the law was mainly written to protect Muslims from attack). Irony isn’t it. The BNP/EDL are still alive and well with decreasing membership.
        Japan is built on the idea of being Japanese being based on blood. Until they are willing to let that go no amount of “reeducation” will help. Remember we are the gaijin.
        If you knew anything about the free movement of Europeans, you would know that Eastern Europeans weren’t allowed to work in non Eastern European countries. Hence lots of French, Italians and other western and Southern Europeans live and work in the UK (mainly London). The interesting fact is that the Eastern Europeans have spread out among the different regions of the country, which is unique (everyone else tended to stick to the bigger cities). Regulations amongs EU countries doesn’t differ that much.
        I don’t know you and you don’t know me. So please don’t make assumptions about someone you have never chatted too. I will do the same.

      • tisho

        That’s exactly what i am saying, you should not arrest or silence someone for hate speech. I don’t know what constitutes hate speech law in England, i know in a lot of countries like Germany and the Netherlands, if you ”offend” or ”insult” particular groups, you could get arrested and silenced. In fact, just the other day i watched on the news the police in Holland arrested a guy from his own home and forced him to remove an ”offensive” tweet he had made. I know similar ”hate speech laws” exist in many countries. This type of silencing any offensive or hateful ideas is very harmful for the minorities themselves. KKK did not get disbanded by government censorship, but by exposing and openly rebutting them, just like your examples of the right wing groups in England.

        Japanese are not just going to ”let go of that idea”, that is not how societies change. America did not just ”let go” of the idea that women are inferior and should be allowed to work and vote, there had to be protests, and battles and campaigns in order to gradually change public opinion. Black people rights did not get accepted over night, it all had to be fought for. All changes happen slowly, things that seem ”logical” today had to be fought for just decades ago, people one by one had to be persuaded otherwise. Like i said, Japanese people are not going to wake up one day accepting non-Japanese into their society, this is an end goal that has to be worked towards. I don’t know how much you know about Japanese culture and Japanese education, but there is a lot that can be changed that will be a good first step. Group mentality, obedience and conformity lies at the center of Japanese culture. Children are not born like this, these things are drilled in their heads in schools and at home. If you change the school system, you can make a very big change. There are a lot of things that can be done, i am yet to see a foreigner making any efforts to do that. I praise Debito for his efforts, but like i’ve said to him many times, his efforts are aimed at the wrong people with the wrong means, which i believe stem from the fact that he does not really have a deep grasp of how Japanese culture works, which in tern stem from the fact that he does not understand Japanese on a native level, he seems their behavior through the prism of American culture, he has to put himself in their shoes to really understand their reasons behind their actions, when you do that, you would know how to change their behavior.

        I know everything about free movement of Europeans, as i am a European myself. It is not true that eastern europeans were not allowed to travel to non eastern european countries. At this point i have doubts you even know what part of Europe constitutes ”east” and what ”south, north and west”. All EU members are allowed to travel freely to any EU member state, i think what you mean to say that, some countries in eastern europe had restrictions on the EU labor market, some did not, which means, the people from some countries were not allowed to work in other countries without a work visa or permit, when the restrictions of the labor market were removed, now they could work in the labor market of any country without a permit or visa. They could travel up to that point freely, but not work unless they are given visa or permit, furthermore, if i am not mistaking Poland and Czech Republic had their labor restrictions removed the same year they entered the EU, while other countries ( who happen to be in eastern europe) had to wait for few additional years for some countries only. Labor market and free movement are to very different things. Statements like ”eastern europeans spread around different parts of UK” or in general saying ”eastern europeans this or that” are very irritating to me, because it just shows how bigot some people are. I bet if i make you show me a map based on actual figures and data of foreign born europeans in UK, you would show me a map of lets say Polish people living in several areas in UK, then Italians, Spanish and portugees in many other areas, yet somehow just having polish people spread instantly in your mind equals to having eastern europeans spread, but having italians does not equal having southern europeans spread. Italians are not put in a box, Poles are. Why do you view an entire region as if it’s one single country? Japanese people do the same thing. If you do something bad in Japan, they would say – ”Are all Europeans like you?”, this is the group mentality i am talking about. They have a collective responsibility way of thinking. A guy from Peru does a crime, they would expect everybody from Peru to accept their responsibility and apology for it. I’ve seen signs that says – ”In the past a foreigner committed a crime, so we do not accept foreigners anymore”, i mean how ridiculous is that way of thinking? Anyway you get my point.

      • fun_on_tv

        BNP has never been arrested for hate speech. They are too clever for that. Challenging them on the accuracy of their “facts” does. Hate speech is illegal in the UK too. Interestingly enough it’s been mainly Muslims who have been arrested for hate crime (the law was mainly written to protect Muslims from attack). Irony isn’t it. The BNP/EDL are still alive and well with decreasing membership.
        Japan is built on the idea of being Japanese being based on blood. Until they are willing to let that go no amount of “reeducation” will help. Remember we are the gaijin.
        If you knew anything about the free movement of Europeans, you would know that Eastern Europeans weren’t allowed to work in non Eastern European countries. Hence lots of French, Italians and other western and Southern Europeans live and work in the UK (mainly London). The interesting fact is that the Eastern Europeans have spread out among the different regions of the country, which is unique (everyone else tended to stick to the bigger cities). Regulations amongs EU countries doesn’t differ that much.
        I don’t know you and you don’t know me. So please don’t make assumptions about someone you have never chatted too. I will do the same.

      • fun_on_tv

        BNP has never been arrested for hate speech. They are too clever for that. Challenging them on the accuracy of their “facts” does. Hate speech is illegal in the UK too. Interestingly enough it’s been mainly Muslims who have been arrested for hate crime (the law was mainly written to protect Muslims from attack). Irony isn’t it. The BNP/EDL are still alive and well with decreasing membership.
        Japan is built on the idea of being Japanese being based on blood. Until they are willing to let that go no amount of “reeducation” will help. Remember we are the gaijin.
        If you knew anything about the free movement of Europeans, you would know that Eastern Europeans weren’t allowed to work in non Eastern European countries. Hence lots of French, Italians and other western and Southern Europeans live and work in the UK (mainly London). The interesting fact is that the Eastern Europeans have spread out among the different regions of the country, which is unique (everyone else tended to stick to the bigger cities). Regulations amongs EU countries doesn’t differ that much.
        I don’t know you and you don’t know me. So please don’t make assumptions about someone you have never chatted too. I will do the same.

      • YoDude12

        Maybe I am missing your point, but this seems wholly illogical.
        “That is what the hate speech law does. No-one gets arrested or put in prison.”
        So what is the purpose of such a law then?

      • YoDude12

        Maybe I am missing your point, but this seems wholly illogical.
        “That is what the hate speech law does. No-one gets arrested or put in prison.”
        So what is the purpose of such a law then?

      • fun_on_tv

        The article states that people will be named and shamed on a website. I don’t understand the reasoning either. The main aim is to embarrass, but it might do the opposite :(

    • R0ninX3ph

      I understand your point about letting people have the freedom to be able to say what they like, yet, people being able to say what they like then directly affects the people to whom they are saying it.

      When do the rights of the person being hated upon come into play? Does freedom of speech trump someone’s right to live without being denigrated by others or threatened with violence? At some point, you HAVE to say “Alright, you’ve gone too far”.

      • tisho

        When i physically touch you, then you can file charges for assault, as long as i am standing next to you, not touching you, not depriving you from your freedoms in anyway, not using force to coerce you, not physically impose anything on you, i should be let free to do as i wish, the moment i try to physically do something, and in anyway try you deprive you of your freedoms, that’s when the police can come and put me down. Individual liberties and human rights means equal opportunity, as long as nobody is physically stopping you from doing something, or physically imposing their will on you, there is no human right violation. Physical deprivation is the key word. Death threat – yes. I forgot to mention that my previous comment, in the US, that girl from the video would’ve been arrested for death threat, not for hate speech. When you threaten to kill someone, that is already a criminal offense, but you must distinguish sharply between a death threat and a hate speech. Inserting hate speech within a death threat does not mean you are punished for hate speech, you are punished for death threat. In the US, even in the states with strong gun laws, if you show to the police that you have been threatened, after the police does their investigation, you will be allowed to carry a gun for your own protection. To be honest, if that girl was shouting these things in America, i would be more afraid for her life than for the people she is threatening. She would be lucky if she doesn’t get shot right there, and then the shooter will claim self defense as he was fearful for his life.

      • R0ninX3ph

        I’m not sure you can limit it to just physically touching someone, I am a tall, well built man, if I stand close enough to someone smaller than me without touching them, I can cause that person significant distress by just using my imposing/threatening presence against them.

        Mental pain, whilst being extremely difficult to prove/detect, is very real. You do not cause pain by only using physical force, it isn’t anywhere near as black and white as you are trying to make it seem.

      • tisho

        You are again mixing two different issues, it’s important to distinguish and separate death threat from hate speech. When you are physically intimidating someone, and indicating through your body language that you want to hurt him, and the person feels fearful for his own life, at this point he has the right to require police intervention, the police can do an investigation, however, any lawyer and police will tell you that regardless of how intimidating or even threatening you are, until he actually touches you there is no legal way of stopping him. There has to be some very serious and reasonable evidence for the police to arrest someone without physically touching you, evidence such as, actually saying that he has intention of killing you, stocking you and so on. In these cases the police can in fact prohibit the person from coming near you, it may result in an arrest if there are enough evidence and reason to suspect that he is about to commit a crime. Im not a lawyer but i know it’s difficult to make the police arrest or do something until either he physically does something to you, or there is a suspicion beyond reasonable doubt that he will do something illegal. I would suggest if someone threatening or intimidating come close to you and cause you are distress, just get away from him, if he keeps stocking you, then you have reason to call the police.

        You don’t need to convince me, i know very well how serious mental pain and mental suffering is. I have personal experience so i know it’s an extremely serious issue, in fact, i would say it’s often more dangerous than physical assault. Physical wounds are usually temporary, mental suffering can cause irreversible damage. However the thing is that silencing the hater is not going to solve the problem. To solve the problem you need to address it at its core, which is, the bigot’s believes and ideas. Even if you silence people from talking or saying what they want in an open direct way, they will still find a way to do it, that is when thing can get much worse in my opinion, because then it’s difficult to even convince others to get on your side, they may not see the problem at all. Like i said, driving ideas underground does nothing to eliminate them. I believe these ideas can be eradicated through more awareness of these issues, more open debates and open discussions, i believe that is the only way to help people get rid of their hateful ideas. Like the guy from England i talked to in my other comment, the hateful and racist groups in England got weaker and smaller not because the government censored them, but because they were invited to open discussions and debates, the people saw they are full of nonsense, this awareness and public ridicule is what made people reject their ideas, they had to first realize and see their ideas were nonsense, only then they rejected them. I believe this is the only way to solve this issue in Japan as well. There aren’t any (that i know of) public debate shows in Japan, which is an issue, that’s why i hope people like Debito and other foreigners can step up their campaigns.

      • R0ninX3ph

        I’m not disagreeing that we shouldn’t let them speak their mind rather than driving it underground, I was just commenting that the idea of assault or pain has to be physical before the police can do anything is extremely limiting.

        I am not a legal expert, nor do I know how one would implement it, but I personally believe there should be at least some protections for people to be able to live their life without even the threat of assault.

        Whether that comes from hate-speech laws, or some other kind of legislation to protect people, I think that people’s right to a peaceful life trumps the right to freedom of speech.

        As it is often claimed but overlooked, everyone has the right to say what they want (that is freedom of speech), they do NOT have the right to say whatever they want and be free from the repercussions of those words. People take responsibility for their actions.

      • fun_on_tv

        I find this distinction very worrying. If someone intimidates you and you hit them (they have been outside your apartment/workplace for 5 years) then you go to prison. Yet the person who intimidating you gets their name on a website. oh no! Not a website – ridiculous
        It might go the other way.
        Do you remember the guy who couldn’t commit suicide? He killed someone. So the government could kill him. Also increasing numbers of pensioners are commiting crimes so they can be housed and fed by the government.
        Behaviour and incentives are very tricky. Someone with no sense of shame will just continue their behaviour regardless. In the UK, they gave out ASBOs (anti social behaviour orders), as an alternative to prison, to people as a punishment. With some group of people their behaviour got worse! They wanted to be seen as badly behaved people.

      • tisho

        But people are already protected from the threat of assault, if someone threatens to kill you, that is already a criminal offense, a death threat is a criminal offense and you can file charges for that, the police will do an investigation and take appropriate measures. Hate speech and death threat are two very different things.

        There are repercussions of your words, but they come from the public, not the government. The people will ridicule and reject you, not the government. When Trump said those things about Mexicans, did his words had repercussions? Yes. Several of his business partners withdraw and distanced themselves from him, the media rebuked him, the public ridiculed him, so you see there are consequences for what you say. Last year there was a case in Boston, a pizza guy went to deliver his pizza to a small office in Boston, the people from the office mocked the pizza guy and were acting extremely rude to him, they had a camera recording the whole thing and then they uploaded it on the internet to make more fun of him. When the public saw this, there was a huge outcry, people donated money to the pizza guy and boycotted that company, as a result the people from that company had to apologize and i am not sure if they exist anymore. This is the consequences they had to pay for their words. The market, the public punish them, not the government. Few years ago there was another disturbing case, school kids were mocking and insulting an old lady in the school bus, calling her pig and that she should just kill herself, when that video went viral, people donated several thousands dollars to that women so she can retire. Public ridicule and punishment in the form of a boycott or rebuke , isolation is the most effective form of repercussion.

        People do have a right to a peaceful life, and they already have it. You are free to do and say whatever you want as long as you do not harm and deprive others of their freedoms. The rest is decided by the public, your word does have a very big consequences, the public does the punishment not the government. If i open a shop in New York and put a sign that says – no jews allowed, what will happen? The people will boycott me and i will go bankrupt. If i walk around the streets shouting death to jews, what will happen? My boss will find out who i am and fire me, because the public will find out who i am and where i work and they will boycott that company, so my boss will be pressured to fire me. Next time i go to a job interview people will say – are you guy that shouted death to jews? aahh no sorry we don’t want bigots in our company, people will boycott us. The government doesn’t need to do anything, so you see how the free market, free individuals govern themselves better than any government can ever do.

        Japan needs to improve their criminal justice code and police work force. I’ve read many times how women file charges for stocking, and the police doesn’t do anything. They should focus on improving their judicial system and the quality of police work, that would be more helpful for them.

    • KenjiAd

      I think you are looking at the issue only from the point of free speech.

      While freedom of speech is important, people also have a right to live peacefully and pursue happiness. That’s called Fundamental Human Rights.

      If some people start advocating the genocide of your nationality under the protection of free speech, your human right is being violated.

      I don’t see how importance of freedom of speech could outweigh people’s fundamental human rights for living peacefully and pursuing happiness without fear.

      • YoDude12

        Fundamentally different.
        “I am going to kill you,” is far from “I hate you.”

  • LaughingBuddha

    Bring on the hate! it will come handy when war breaks out.

  • Jonathan Fields

    I’ve said it before, but I don’t like this bill. And I’ve been the victim of hate speech on several occasions. I’d be more comfortable with some kind of campaign to raise awareness about discrimination. Most people in Japan think it’s not a problem, and many even get very angry if you suggest that it is.

    • 69station

      “I’ve been the victim of hate speech on several occasions.”

      Oh, you poor thing! Poor white boy not considered an ideal everywhere in the world.

      “Most people in Japan think it’s not a problem, and many even get very angry if you suggest that it is!”

      That’s likely because they think it hypocritical in the extreme. Compared to Europe and the US, public hate here is miniscule. Donald Trump anyone?

      • KenjiAd

        Compared to Europe and the US, public hate here is miniscule.

        When I went to America in mid 80’s, there was much anti-Japan sentiment because of the US-Japan trade dispute.

        I watched on TV a US congressman smashing a Toshiba recorder with a sledgehammer in front of the Capitol building. Auto workers in Detroit were smashing Japanese cars.

        There was an infamous incident called “Vincent Chin murder” (if anyone is interested, there is a Wikipedia summary under the title of “Murder of Vincent Chin).

        Vincent Chin was a Chinese American, but some laid-off autoworkers in Detroit beat him with a baseball bat to death, because they thought he was a Japanese man. A witness overheard them shouting “It’s because of you motherf**kers we’re out of work!” while beating him unconscious.

        What happened to the murderers? Three years in probation, no jail sentence. The judge said “These weren’t the kind of men you send to jail…”

        Angered by the ruling, Asian American communities pressed the federal government to charge them with civil-right violation, and the government did.

        Unfortunately, the two men eventually were acquitted by the jury.

        I’m not downplaying the racist tendency of many Japanese people toward westerners living in Japan. As someone who spent basically all the adult life abroad, I can see how annoying some Japanese people must be toward westerners.

        But whenever I hear some western expsts saying how “racist” Japanese people are toward them, I cannot help wondering whether they really know what racial hatred really is like.

        In Holland right now, some idiots made a Youtube video in which they sprayed baby formula to Asian guys just walking on the street. They did this because they are angry that Chinese tourists in the Netherlands are buying up all the baby formula they can buy. If this happened to me, it’s not annoying. It’s scary.

      • Jonathan Fields

        So the guy that cut in front of me on my bicycle, blocked the road with his car so I couldn’t get away, got out, called me a dirty foreigner, and threatened me counts as what? I never made any kind of comparison to the experiences of others. Even if it’s worse in America and Europe, it doesn’t mean the problem shouldn’t be addressed here.

        And I don’t think you want to play the racist politician game, 69. Ishihara, Kawamura, Hashimoto. And that’s just the names I know. With a bit more googling, I could inundate you with discriminatory LDP gaffes.

      • Kessek

        You poor thing.

      • KenjiAd

        So the guy that cut in front of me on my bicycle, blocked the road with
        his car so I couldn’t get away, got out, called me a dirty foreigner,
        and threatened me counts as what?

        What exactly did the guy say? Did he say “dirty foreigner” in English?

      • Jonathan Fields

        No, he was speaking Japanese. He said “You dirty foreigners are making our streets unsafe!” So I said, “You got out of your car to pick a fight with me. People like you are making the streets unsafe. Please get back in your car.” Then he threatened to kill me and said that he’d see me again. There was a bus behind me the whole time and the driver didn’t even honk. I didn’t have to presence of mind to get the guy’s license plate number, so I went to the bus terminal and told them to ask the driver if he had seen anything. He didn’t, but they offered to go with me to file a police report. I did, but the police said there wasn’t much they could do without more identifying information. Every time I see a car like his, I check to see who is driving.

      • KenjiAd

        No, he was speaking Japanese. He said “You dirty foreigners are making our streets unsafe!”

        What Japanese phrase did he use to say “dirty foreigners”? And where did incident occur? I want to know the dialect.

        I’m a native Japanese speaker. I can’t think of any Japanese slur corresponding to “dirty foreigners.” Of course you can say “kitanai gaijin/gaikokujin”, but this phrase sounds so unnatural that would actually sound funny to my ears.

        Is it possible you misunderstood what he was saying?

        On the topic, there are several slurs describing Koreans and Burakumins. My mother used to use “Chon” to refer to Koreans, and “Yottsu” to Burakumins.

        “Yottsu” literally means four. The hidden implication is that Burakumins have only four fingers, not five like normal people do. There is no equivalent word to refer to a westerner like you.

        During WWII, Americans and British were referred to “Kichiku” (鬼畜), basically meaning a demon. But this phrase has vanished.

      • Jonathan Fields

        He said お前ら腐る外人のせいで治安が悪ぅなっとる! Or something like that. He kept calling me 外人 over and over and said 殺すでぇ! twice. It was in Osaka.

      • KenjiAd

        Your story makes no sense to me for several reasons.

        The phrase “腐る外人” isn’t grammatically correct, as “腐る” isn’t an adjective. “腐っとる” (rotten) would have been correct. You probably misheard it, because this isn’t a kind of mistake native Japanese speakers would make.

        Also you initially said you had been called a “dirty foreigner.” That wasn’t exactly accurate, was it?

        Anyway, the most perplexing part of your anecdote is this.

        This person immediately identified you as a “foreigner.” By default, the vast majority of Japanese would assume that foreign-looking individuals cannot understand Japanese language.

        Why on earth was this Japanese guy talking to you in Japanese? He wasn’t simply cursing. He was explaining (治安が悪ぅなっとる), blaming the foreigners for supposedly deteriorating public security. Was he talking to himself? lol Makes no sense.

        Anyway, I’m sorry that this happened to you. But that doesn’t change the fact that your anecdote is an exception, rather than the rule, of racism in Japan.

        Predominant form of Japanese racism is a lot more subtle, more like pricking you with a needle hundred times a day, than hitting your head with a brick. That’s why it’s not easy to fight back, because a) people who are pricking you are not aware that they are hurting you and b) you also don’t want to be seen too sensitive.

      • Jonathan Fields

        I’m pretty sure I heard it right. I take classes in Japanese, read books in Japanese, work in Japanese… But I might have missed that part. How would you translate that, though? Rotten foreigner is kind of unnatural in English, and the meanings are similar enough.

      • skillet

        I imagine Jonathon correctly understood it was a racist insult. Even if couple of words are off. I also encountered some racist Japanese. Of course I did. I was there for eight years !

        But Japanese people in general treated me very nicely. I do not see Japan as a racist country at all. At least not in the 90’s when I lived there.

        I got treated differently from Japanese people. Sometimes worse, sometimes better. But at the end of the day, it was very fair. Very pleasant.

        The angriest I ever got in Japan was when I was with a group of teachers from my school. They always paid the taxi and I was always a guest.

        So once, I resolved to pay. I put the fare in my front pocket to be ready quickly. When the taxi stopped, I whipped the money out of my pocket to hand to the driver. The PE teacher of the school screamed “No way a gaijin is ever going to pay for me”.

        Yes, that was insulting. I wish he had been more tactful. Once again, I did not pay and felt very belittled.

        But 20 years later, I say to myself. If that was my biggest problem, I had it pretty good.

        I miss Japan so much sometimes I am sick. I was treated so kindly by so many people.

      • KenjiAd

        For better or worse, most westerners in Japan are treated like, for lack of a better phrase, guests with handicap, i.e., some important person who needs help.

        I guess this hospitality could be annoying to some, as it can be seen as treating them differently. Well, they are being treated differently indeed. I think that’s why the word like ‘gaijin,’ which is originally just a neutral word to refer to foreigners from the West, acquires such a negative connotation among western expats in Japan.

        But overall, I still believe that Japanese people treat foreigners relatively well. I think their problem is that they don’t know many foreigners actually do not want to be treated differently, do not want to be discriminated.

        But the bottom line is that I make a distinction between a) when people want to be nice to me and end up doing something slightly discriminatory and b) when people hate me just because of my nationality.

        Lumping a) and b) together into the same category of “racism”, in my opinion, is problematic.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Well, I was shoved by a Japanese man on the train platform, and he told me to get out of Japan. How’s that for scary? I’ve also been denied entrance to restaurants and bars, been yelled at on the street to get out of Japan. Oh yeah, and a guy I was dating said that to me as well, and then threatened to come to my workplace and get me fired. Lucky for me, he didn’t actually know where I worked. I also have been denied housing, too many times to count.
        Then of course, there are the “million little needles” you mentioned, the every day microagressions, as they call them.
        I don’t think you can say it isn’t scary when these things happen, and it comes off as minimizing when you seem to imply that foreigners in Japan shouldn’t complain because they have it easy compared to other countries. That’s a terrible argument, in fact. We may have it “easier” but we do not have it “easy”.

      • KenjiAd

        The examples such as yours and Jonathan’s are anecdotes. I hope you agree that anecdotes by their own nature are weak evidences to prove any point, because one can easily come up with some anecdotes that are consistent with the point you are trying to prove.

        A bigger problem of anecdotes, however, is that they are inherently biased, i.e., a product of selective memory, exaggerated interpretation, or in some rare cases, a complete made-up story. No matter how objective you think you are, what you will remember and tell others cannot be free of these biases.

        Furthermore, a person who is hearing the anecdote cannot entirely refute the speaker’s story-line, because 1) it would be insulting to not believe the speaker, and 2) no one can prove that something didn’t happen the way it was told.

        This point, “irrefutablity” (sic) of anecdotes, is the very reason why so many people actually resort to anecdotes to prove their point – “What? You don’t believe me?”

        Most of the time, so I just ignore anyone who argues based on anecdotes. You can’t win. But I wanted to reply to Jonathan’s, only because he made a rather extraordinary claim.

        He told us that he was a victim of hate-speech in Japan, but still was opposed to anti-hate-speech ordinance, which is the subject of this article.

        Very few, if any at all, victims of real hate-speech have opposed, would oppose, the enactment of a law intended to control the hate speech directed at them. That’s how extraordinary his post was.

      • skillet

        I would guess that some of the Japanese people who were rude had reasons. I would not be polite to someone coming to my country to promote radical anti-family ideology. It is easy to sniff these people out in the street. Slightly reddish dyed tint in hair and lots of piercings. That is how they recognize other members of their ideological tribe.

        Often accompanied by public displays of deviant social mores.

        Around the world, people are just sick and fed up and feel they have had enough of Western PC unhinged. Entitled folk coming from outside and telling the natives they have to change. I don’t want it in my country, and if I were Japanese, I would not put up with it in Japan either.

        I supposed that letting these folks teach in eikaiwa is a good thing. But never allow them to gain a meaningful ideological foothold and spread their toxic ideology with things like gender study professorships. They will use that as a Trojan Horse to radically change first university life and then society.

      • skillet

        I would guess that some of the Japanese people who were rude had reasons. I would not be polite to someone coming to my country to promote radical anti-family ideology. It is easy to sniff these people out in the street. Slightly reddish dyed tint in hair and lots of piercings. That is how they recognize other members of their ideological tribe.

        Often accompanied by public displays of deviant social mores.

        Around the world, people are just sick and fed up and feel they have had enough of Western PC unhinged. Entitled folk coming from outside and telling the natives they have to change. I don’t want it in my country, and if I were Japanese, I would not put up with it in Japan either.

        I supposed that letting these folks teach in eikaiwa is a good thing. But never allow them to gain a meaningful ideological foothold and spread their toxic ideology with things like gender study professorships. They will use that as a Trojan Horse to radically change first university life and then society.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Well, I was shoved by a Japanese man on the train platform, and he told me to get out of Japan. How’s that for scary? I’ve also been denied entrance to restaurants and bars, been yelled at on the street to get out of Japan. Oh yeah, and a guy I was dating said that to me as well, and then threatened to come to my workplace and get me fired. Lucky for me, he didn’t actually know where I worked. I also have been denied housing, too many times to count.
        Then of course, there are the “million little needles” you mentioned, the every day microagressions, as they call them.
        I don’t think you can say it isn’t scary when these things happen, and it comes off as minimizing when you seem to imply that foreigners in Japan shouldn’t complain because they have it easy compared to other countries. That’s a terrible argument, in fact. We may have it “easier” but we do not have it “easy”.

      • Jonathan Fields

        How is it hypocritical? Do you even know what that word means? I’m not responsible for what Donald Trump says, and I’m very critical of race issues in the United States.

      • 69station

        In focusing on yourself (what has happened to you, what you are personally responsible for) you are ignoring the way humans interact, which is mistake 101 when it comes to solving the world’s problems, which is what you claim to want to do.

        It is a basic human trait, regardless of culture, that people from other groups are seen to some extent as representatives of that group. If a member of group X criticizes group Y for something that is far more prevalent in group X, especially when they generalize about that group (as you have done about ‘Japan’ and the ‘Japanese’), then they will be seen a hypocritical in the extreme. Appeals to the notion that ‘it happens here too’ are meaningless, especially when the disparity is great. It’s like a Brit coming to Japan and complaining about the train system.

        A couple of specific mistakes you made:

        1) You were not a victim of hate speech. Someone using a xenophobic insult during an altercation (the full details of which I suspect you have not revealed) doesn’t constitute hate speech. Hate speech is where people voluntarily and with foresight use insults or threats against groups.

        2) Your branding of Hashimoto as a racist is off the mark. Quote me a statement that he has made that is racist.

        3) Even Ishihara was more of a windbag than a consistent racist. He made a couple of controversial comments, but look at the actual policies that his ultimate creation (his own political party) decided on and you won’t find a racist policy there.

      • Jonathan Fields

        “Here were a couple of mistakes you made.” What a windbag. Rather than address the problem, you’d rather argue endlessly that I’m not a victim. Which is fine. I’ll even pull that off the table. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

      • Jonathan Fields

        “Here were a couple of mistakes you made.” What a windbag. Rather than address the problem, you’d rather argue endlessly that I’m not a victim. Which is fine. I’ll even pull that off the table. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

      • 69station

        Address the first/main part of the response. It’s that which makes you look like a hypocrite. If you are seriously committed to solving issues, then you have to deal with that unavoidable part of human nature.

      • Jonathan Fields

        I will not. It’s a red herring and you’re being disingenuous. I know you think you’re being very smart right now, but that’s a ridiculous argument. Also, look up the word hypocrite.

      • 69station

        So, having taken your own victimhood off the table, failed to offer any evidence that the racists you claim exist actually do, we are left with the only conclusion possible, which was my original claim, i.e. that hate speech/racism is so miniscule as to be a non-issue in Japan. This undermines your claim that it is an issue that needs tackling and we are left only with your insults.

        The dictionary definition of a hypocrite is irrelevant: what is important is what happens in the real world, where the phenomenon I have pointed out is the norm. There’s a reason that there are proverbs along the line of ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’ in every culture as far back as we can see.

      • Jonathan Fields

        Pretty typical of Internet arguing. Run with one part of a person’s post, introduce red herrings, throw a tantrum when the person doesn’t address your red herrings, and claim victory. Grow up. I’m going to repeat my first post before this crazy person came in and got involved.

        This hate speech law scares me, but racism is still an issue that should be addressed in Japan.

      • 69station

        Disagree on both counts. Understand your reasoning (but disagree) on the first issue, you have no evidence for the second, other than the fact that number of racist individuals hasn’t been reduced to absolute zero, a terribly weak argument in the context of so many societies where open racism, racist violence, and discrimination are huge problems by comparison. This opens you up to accusations that you are making mountains out of molehills when there are many many more far more pressing issues, something that is particularly unwelcome when you are among a group other than your own. (I will take that criticism off the table if you naturalize.) Your actions are actually more likely to increase friction between such groups than reduce it. Ironic and sad.

      • Jonathan Fields

        My actions are increasing friction? Complaining on a forum that only expats and crazy apologist Japanese people read?

        And for your information, I research issues involving Nikkei Brazilians and Chileans in the Chubu area. Next time 800 Brazilians are laid off by a transmission manufacturer while their Japanese counterparts get to keep their jobs, I’ll tell them to suck it up because there’s racism in Brazil too. They wouldn’t want to increase friction by voicing their concerns. That would be “ironic and sad”

      • 69station

        Your attitude increases friction, and don’t pretend that you only exhibit it here.

        Wow, a ‘researcher,’ eh? Now, there’s some real world experience for you! Enter the discussion as an unpaid representative of that group, who is actually doing some face-to-face campaigning on their behalf and then you might get someone to listen.

        “Next time 800 Brazilians are laid off by a transmission manufacturer while their Japanese counterparts get to keep their jobs, I’ll tell them to suck it up because there’s racism in Brazil too. ”

        No, you tell them to suck it up because they were only employed on that basis in the first place. You point out to them that people get laid off all the time. You point out to them that the work they did get was likely better than they ever would have gotten (in their situation) in the first place back in Brazil and that’s why they chose to come, and you point out how wise they have been in saving some of the money they earned, to use whilst they either decide to go home or look for other employment here. You also point out that there are many many part-time jobs available to anyone who can do them here.

        You also, if you believe there is a legal case for unjustified/unfair dismissal, help them get legal aid and go through the right channels, which they do it on the basis of unfair dismissal, not chants of “racist, racist, racist, Japan!” Not if they want to get a favo(u)rable result.

      • Jonathan Fields

        You’re such a whiny baby it’s amazing. What’s at stake in this argument for you? What do you lose if you admit racism is an issue in Japan? You’re arguing that it’s OK for people to be laid off on the basis of their race because they were lucky to have those jobs in the first place. I guarantee that were the script flipped, you’d scream bloody murder.

      • 69station

        “What do you lose if you admit racism is an issue in Japan?”

        Devotion to the truth.

        What’s in it for you to greatly exaggerate the issue? The subject of your research? Self-image as a moral crusader? Admiration of your peers?

        I have lost my job twice on the basis of negative economic developments (which is the same reason that those Brazilians lost theirs too.) I shrugged my shoulders, relied on friends for emotional support, and went out and got another job.

      • Jonathan Fields

        You just love being disingenuous. Imagine this situation:

        You are struggling to find work in Japan. You are actively recruited by an American company who promises you good wages and an easy visa if you move to The States. You decide to do it, and they move you into a town with nothing but their factory. You do not speak the language and you have no skills, but you can put transmissions together on an assembly line with little issue. One day, the economy takes a dip and you are released. There are Americans that work the exact same position as you, only you and your Japanese compatriots are laid off. There is no work in your current city, you don’t have enough money to move to another, and your family back home is too poor to help you. The company says you can come back, but your wage will be lowered and you must quit the union. Your other choice is to go on temporary welfare, but it’s an extremely difficult process and the locals resent you for receiving public money. They say that only Americans should get that money despite the fact that you paid into the system. They blame all Japanese people for a rash of stereo thefts despite there being no evidence of an increase in crime. Eventually, the government comes to your aid. You can get $3000 dollars to leave America if you promise never to come back.

        Would you just shrug your shoulders, or would you think that maybe there’s a problem with the treatment of foreign laborers? Something exactly like this happened in Japan in 2009.

      • 69station

        They paid good wages, so why no savings? They didn’t promise permanent employment, so why did you expect that it would happen? Which locals resent you for taking welfare? The people at the welfare office? No, right? Are the locals coming round and abusing people? Attacking people? No, right?

        But even if it happened exactly as you say, one incident, 7 years ago.

        Here’s some data for you:

        In 2008 (it has gotten much worse since) The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) og Germany reported that politically and racially motivated crimes by the far right hit a record high of more than 20,000. Would have to be 40,000 in Japan to be an equal occurrence. How many were there, a few dozen?

      • Jonathan Fields

        There are far more incidents than that. That’s just the incident I chose to talk about. And that “one incident 7 years ago” involved 800 Brazilian people. But you’re so offended by the idea that I could say racism is an issue in Japan that you blew my comment way out of proportion and started an argument you have no hope of winning. Your ego is really wrapped up in this. You would have made a fascinating subject for my dissertation, but sadly it’s finished.

        What am I supposed to do with that information on Germany? As an American working and doing research in Japan, my focus is Japan. Are you suggesting that I should pack up and move? Say that one is worse than the other? Say that racism isn’t an issue? Again, I’ll concede that race issues are not unique to Japan, but that does not mean they should remain unaddressed, nor does it mean that I am a hypocrite as you seem to suggest.

      • 69station

        You can do whatever you want, but you will be called out on hypocrisy when others deem it so.

        At least you should realize that your chosen field of focus is not one that justifies even the small amount you have given it. As I said before, it’s the equivalent of writing about ‘scheduling problems with Japanese railways.’ Sure, one can make a thesis on it.

        Any remaining issues that are in Japan will be addressed by Japanese or those that live here permanently in a way which is consistent with the local culture. And that culture is doing a better job than almost anywhere in the world at maintaining social safety.

        What works in the US doesn’t work here, that is naive American mistake 101. Another bungling American (or Brit, or German, whatever) stampeding into the room and shouting ‘look, something imperfect’ whilst ignoring local sensitivities just gives more fuel to the feeling among many Japanese that actually it is they who are subject to most racism among the major players on the world stage.

        Amazing isn’t it? The Japanese often feel more sinned against than sinning! How could that be?
        I’ll tell you how: it actually has some basis in fact. Whilst they diligently continue on, trying to improve their society, in their own way, at their own pace, all they get from most outside observers is ridicule and criticism. You are a classic case.

        Do me a favo(u)r. Go to YouTube and search for ‘Ken Tanaka David Ury’ The sketch about ‘Is Japan racist’ sums it all up. Yes, it’s the same guy playing both parts, he nails the classic gaijin critic hands down.

      • 69station

        “Your ego is really wrapped up in this. You would have made a fascinating subject for my dissertation, but sadly it’s finished.”

        You have as many qualifications as a psychologist as I do, which is none. Ask yourself this question: why would an American be interested in comparatively minor incidents of intercultural friction when the situation is so much worse in his home country?

        Is there not an ego issue here?

        Could it possibly be that, on some level, he is trying to downplay what happens in the US as an ego defense?

        You are perfectly free to do with your life as you wish, but don’t expect a free pass from others, especially those whom you accuse of being deliberately ignorant or even compliant in the things you criticize.

        I am signing off now. Feel free to get in touch again on this issue, the day after you commit to becoming a permanent resident or even a citizen.

      • KenjiAd

        i.e. that hate speech/racism is so miniscule as to be a non-issue in Japan.

        I think it depends on the definition of “racism”; there seem to be a range of definitions, from a very broad to narrow one.

        For example, if a Japanese guy complimented Jonathan, a westerner, how skillfully he can use chopsticks, it this Japanese person “racist”? Some say “yes” and others say “no.”

        Debate on an issue of something with different definitions of that “something” tends not to go anywhere.

        Japan’s “racism” (note the double quote) is different from racism in America, which I’m familiar with, perhaps different from racism in the UK, France, also.

        Japan’s racism is really ethnocentrism – the idea that Japanese are somehow unique or intrinsically superior in many important aspects; people who are not genetically Japanese cannot share that uniqueness or superiority. This idea is fairly common in Japan, particularly among older generations.

        When a foreigner comes to Japan, the first thing they would notice is the lack of political correctness. Many Japanese people say “Americans are…, we Japanese are…” the kind of thing that makes most Americans cringe.

        Many, if not most, Japanese people are “racist” in a broad sense of this term, as they tend to prejudge people based on nationality without regard to the individual’s merit.

        With this definition of racist, however, I point out almost everyone is racist at least to some degree. The difference is that some people know it’s wrong to prejudge people based on nationality, while others feel justified to do it.

      • 69station

        Exactly.

      • 69station

        “I don’t even know where to start with this garbage pile of a post you’ve made. Ishihara said racist things, but he isn’t racist because his policies weren’t racist? Wtf is the matter with you”

        “I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or it they try, they will shortly be out of office.” Milton Friedman.

      • Jonathan Fields

        You’re on a roll today. Seriously. I’m saying that racism is a problem in Japan, but that we shouldn’t control speech, and you’re saying my line of thinking has a history of killing hundreds of millions of people and to look to George Orwell for guidance. I question your intelligence.

      • 69station

        The start of a slippery slope, proven time and time again in history. I’m not responsible for your historical ignorance.

      • Jonathan Fields

        So… Promoting awareness of race-related issues is a slippery slope to genocide, but hate speech laws that actually dictate words are okey-dokey. And you somehow think Orwell would agree with you… Got it…

      • 69station

        At least respond to what I actually wrote. I have not mentioned the law in the article except once to state that I disagree with you (but didn’t say in which direction.) Everything else was aimed at you and your crusade to make an issue which is very far down the list of severity into something much much bigger, particularly stupid given the fact that everywhere else in the world is doing a much worse job at dealing with it.

        The desire, whether well-intentioned or otherwise, to manipulate others’ opinions through non-democratic means was the start of a slippery slope to every despotic disaster that occurred in the last century. And there were plenty of them.

      • Jonathan Fields

        How is my speaking against racist behavior an “un-democratic method”? You really seem to have no argument. You’re just continuing the debate so you don’t have to admit defeat.

      • 69station

        That’s not what you started here doing. Had you come here and pointed to this one case and shown that you were actively helping in it then fair enough. But you came here and said Japan has a big problem with racism and that you were a ‘victim’ of it. I pointed out how that attitude and approach will do nothing to help anyone. The point still stands.

      • Jonathan Fields

        No, you’re such a whiny cry baby that you took my comment saying “even having been a victim of hate speech I think a hate speech law is going too far” as some sort of criticism of Japan as a whole. Every time you quote me it gets more dramatic. I never said it’s a “big problem.” I never said “the Japanese are…” as you claim I did. You even added exclamation points to my words in at least one place. The point you’re making is a stupid point for several reasons. One, Japan is far less ethnically diverse than the US or Europe. It’s much easier to maintain “social safety” in that setting. And even if Japan were doing the best job in the world at it, it doesn’t change the fact that issues still remain. Your issue is that a foreigner, or a “gaijin critic” as you so clumsily put it, is commenting. You’re failing to separate the individual from the group. You’ve contradicted yourself several times, you’ve misquoted me, you’ve made some borderline racist statements while arguing that racism doesn’t exist in Japan… Your arguments are a train wreck. I’m glad you turned your tail and ran from the thread. Good riddance.

        One more time, my point. Racism is an issue in Japan, but a hate speech law is a step too far.

      • 69station

        I have quoted you several times EXACTLY (I cut and pasted), with no added punctuation, so I cannot have misquoted you “several times” and cannot have “added exclamation points” as you claim.

        You quote above me as saying “gaijin critic” when I did not.

        Finally, after your previous exasperated comment that you couldn’t understand my motivation to keep responding to you, you then, after about 10 hours of this accuse me of turning tail and running. I have run out of time to continue this and am signing off. I have a family to attend to.

      • Jonathan Fields

        You were so stomped in this debate that you came back just to run away again. Wow.

        And if you’re going to lie about what you’ve posted, at least go back and edit those parts like the other crazy uyoku apologists on JapanTimes do. People can see where you said “gaijin critic” and where you added an exclamation point to my quote. So bush league.

      • 69station

        Let’s go back to English punctuation 101: single inverted commas do not a quotation make, they mean you used the term and I think it bull. When the last word of a sentence is such a case and the writer wishes to add an exclamation mark, that mark is within the single inverted commas. It does not mean I added it to your words because I wasn’t quoting you in the first plave. Actual quotations from text are bound by double inverted commas.

      • Jonathan Fields

        Give it up. You lost. And your comments are still visible complete with quotation marks.

      • 69station

        “Give it up. You lost.” (That’s double inverted commas, so I’m quoting you direct.)

        Did you do a gangsta pose as you did that? Whatever we may have disagreed on, you have consistently showed an inability to stop yourself insulting your opponent, and treating debate as some kind of boxing match: in short the stereotypical ‘ugly American':

        (All in double inverted commas, as I’m quoting you direct)

        “this garbage pile of a post you’ve made.”

        “You’re such a whiny baby”

        “The point you’re making is a stupid point”

        “You were so stomped in this debate”

        “So bush league.”

        “I question your intelligence.”

        “you turned your tail and ran from the thread.”

        Proud of yourself?

        The point about quotations still stands, full quotation marks are not single inverted commas and examination of my use of single and double by any impartial observer will confirm consistency of use. I hope your poor understanding of punctuation didn’t hinder your graduation thesis.

        BTW, I did find my use of “gaijin critic,” you were correct. My mistake, I meant to write “gaijin hypocritic” (the second term is a hybrid, but I’m sure you can work it out.)

      • Jonathan Fields

        All I hear is “wahhhh wahhhhh.” If I’m the stereotypical “ugly American,” what does that make you? You continue to fight far longer than necessary, you’re incredibly defensive about Japan to the point of being ridiculous, rather than address the point you try to switch the blame to your opponent… Where have I seen that behavior before… Hmmmmm…

      • 69station

        All I hear is “wahhhh wahhhhh.”

        Says much more about you than it does about anyone else.

        “If I’m the stereotypical “ugly American,” what does that make you..”

        Someone who has seen you and your type come and go every year for longer than you’ve been alive.

        “..starting a fight you can’t finish? Cry more, buddy.”

        Well done. Nice effort at taking it even lower than you already have. Which loops us back (once more) to that ugly American again.

        Don’t worry, there are ugly Brits, Germans, French, etc too….even ugly Japanese.

      • Jonathan Fields

        Yeah, you’re one of them. You started this exchange with a sarcastic “poor white boy,” argue in favor of discriminatory behavior, condescend to me, and then you’re surprised when things get a little rough? You may be older than I, but you’ve clearly got some learning to do.

      • 69station

        “Yeah, you’re one of them.”

        Wrong on every single count. Preconceptions anyone?

        “You started this exchange with a sarcastic “poor white boy,..”

        No sarcasm involved, a direct criticism which, if you have a sufficient commitment to self-development, you will understand better one day.

        “…argue in favor of discriminatory behavior…”

        No, simply acknowledge reality and not hold juvenile dreams about changing human nature at the click of my own fingers. Don’t feel bad, us oldies have simply been where you are now, and have seen much more besides. It is the natural course of things. There’s a good reason that no human society has ever put the young in charge.

        “..and then you’re surprised when things get a little rough?”

        “Rough”? You don’t know the meaning of the word. Go work for a living.

        “You may be older than I, but you’ve clearly got some learning to do.”

        Yawn.

      • Jonathan Fields

        No, you said it was perfectly fine for a Japanese company to lay off only Brazilian staff. They should have had savings, they came here of their own volition, they should have blah blah blah apologist poopy-talk.

        I do work. I have two jobs and I go to graduate school. Being old does not make you right. You have illustrated on multiple occasions that you are very, very wrong. Your wrongness, to quote Louis CK, is just rooted in more experience. Good for you.

      • Jonathan Fields

        No, you said it was perfectly fine for a Japanese company to lay off only Brazilian staff. They should have had savings, they came here of their own volition, they should have blah blah blah apologist poopy-talk.

        I do work. I have two jobs and I go to graduate school. Being old does not make you right. You have illustrated on multiple occasions that you are very, very wrong. Your wrongness, to quote Louis CK, is just rooted in more experience. Good for you.

      • 69station

        “No, you said it was perfectly fine for a Japanese company to lay off only Brazilian staff.”

        Perfectly run-of-the-mill all over the world. What makes this case unusual in the world is only that the unfortunate souls got a chance to better their situation in the first place. Most would be lucky just to be alive. Japanese companies are no criminals here.

        “They should have had savings, they came here of their own volition, they should have blah blah blah apologist poopy-talk.”

        That’s right. Regardless of personal action, all people (especially those born poor) deserve to live to XXXX standard of living, by mere virtue of their existence. Good luck with that one.

        “Being old does not make you right.”

        Indeed. Being experienced and open to that experience does.

        “I do work. I have two jobs and I go to graduate school.”

        Easy to do when you have no commitments outside of yourself. And you don’t have two jobs: at most you have two half jobs.

        And where’s the charity work, Mr.Compassion? I do plenty. Happy to compare resumes…..

      • Jonathan Fields

        Not run of the mill all over the world. Most countries have laws that prevent that. And I’m not even advocating for that. I’m just advocating awareness of the issue. You can’t even accept something so reasonable as that because the damage to your ego would be too great. And you’ve been so soundly defeated that you’ve gone from one tactic to the next. This time it’s the condescending old guy routine. Give up.

      • 69station

        “Not run of the mill all over the world.”

        Oh yes, very much the norm. The vast majority, indeed. Your privileged upbringing is simply sheltering you from that. And you even believe that your commitment to researching social justice makes you enlightened.

        “Most countries have laws that prevent that.”

        And they make no difference unless the social sentiment is already there, which has no relation to what lawmakers ordain to design.

        “You can’t even accept something so reasonable as that because the damage to your ego would be too great. And you’ve been so soundly defeated that you’ve gone from one tactic to the next. This time it’s the condescending old guy routine. Give up.”

        And here we go again. Pseudo-psychology. Insults. Gangsta pose. (Ugly American.)

      • Jonathan Fields

        Cry more. You insult others and then get upset when you’re insulted. Boo hoo, you big racist.

      • 69station

        “Boo hoo, you big racist.”

        SOOOO, you finally went there. Speaks volumes. See you tomorrow.

      • Jonathan Fields

        Cry more.

      • 69station

        “Boo hoo, you big racist.”

        SOOOO, you finally went there. Speaks volumes. See you tomorrow.

      • Jonathan Fields

        No, you said it was perfectly fine for a Japanese company to lay off only Brazilian staff. They should have had savings, they came here of their own volition, they should have blah blah blah apologist poopy-talk.

        I do work. I have two jobs and I go to graduate school. Being old does not make you right. You have illustrated on multiple occasions that you are very, very wrong. Your wrongness, to quote Louis CK, is just rooted in more experience. Good for you.

      • Jonathan Fields

        You were so stomped in this debate that you came back just to run away again. Wow.

        And if you’re going to lie about what you’ve posted, at least go back and edit those parts like the other crazy uyoku apologists on JapanTimes do. People can see where you said “gaijin critic” and where you added an exclamation point to my quote. So bush league.

      • 69station

        That’s not what you started here doing. Had you come here and pointed to this one case and shown that you were actively helping in it then fair enough. But you came here and said Japan has a big problem with racism and that you were a ‘victim’ of it. I pointed out how that attitude and approach will do nothing to help anyone. The point still stands.

      • Jonathan Fields

        How is my speaking against racist behavior an “un-democratic method”? You really seem to have no argument. You’re just continuing the debate so you don’t have to admit defeat.

      • 69station

        The start of a slippery slope, proven time and time again in history. I’m not responsible for your historical ignorance.

      • 69station

        In focusing on yourself (what has happened to you, what you are personally responsible for) you are ignoring the way humans interact, which is mistake 101 when it comes to solving the world’s problems, which is what you claim to want to do.

        It is a basic human trait, regardless of culture, that people from other groups are seen to some extent as representatives of that group. If a member of group X criticizes group Y for something that is far more prevalent in group X, especially when they generalize about that group (as you have done about ‘Japan’ and the ‘Japanese’), then they will be seen a hypocritical in the extreme. Appeals to the notion that ‘it happens here too’ are meaningless, especially when the disparity is great. It’s like a Brit coming to Japan and complaining about the train system.

        A couple of specific mistakes you made:

        1) You were not a victim of hate speech. Someone using a xenophobic insult during an altercation (the full details of which I suspect you have not revealed) doesn’t constitute hate speech. Hate speech is where people voluntarily and with foresight use insults or threats against groups.

        2) Your branding of Hashimoto as a racist is off the mark. Quote me a statement that he has made that is racist.

        3) Even Ishihara was more of a windbag than a consistent racist. He made a couple of controversial comments, but look at the actual policies that his ultimate creation (his own political party) decided on and you won’t find a racist policy there.

      • Toolonggone

        That doesn’t give any justification for defending the action of groups who create their own establishments based on hate and bigotry– just like Trump and the Bundy y’all Qaeda(a.k.a Hakujinzaitokukai).

      • 69station

        I refer you to my response to Jonathan Fields.

      • Toolonggone

        Oh I got it. You are one of those supporting establishments.

      • 69station

        Establishments? I didn’t use the term…

      • Toolonggone

        All you need to do is say “fire!” right in front of the people surrounding your group. It would be much better if you have a thick jacket and a rifle with you, since you really like to promote the dummy ideology like a bunch of Bundy y’all Qaeda and white pissed-off Trump supporters.

      • 69station

        Only time I mentioned Trump was as an example of a racist. ?????

      • Toolonggone

        Who is saying that? Now you are in trouble, huh!?

      • CrimsonTears

        “Oh, you poor thing! Poor white boy not considered an ideal everywhere in the world.”

        Doesn’t this cut both ways? Poor “pure” Japanese not considered ideal everywhere in the world.

        These issues are present everywhere and they should be addressed everywhere. It’s funny though that people seem to always go to the “white America” or “white boy” arguments. I won’t deny that America is still racist though considering if you’re non-white you have a better standing when applying for government jobs and even in some case colleges as well.

        Typical that people just try to ignore the issue and employ their ad hominem arsenal or excuse inappropriate behavior because the victim is the majority in a completely different nation than where the issue took place.

      • 69station

        I refer you to my response to Jonathan Fields below.

      • skillet

        Go Trump !. Hope Japanese do not get PC and pander to whiners.

      • Toolonggone

        Well, he got upstaged by another whacky candidate (Ted Cruz). And, he’s slammed so bad by all other GOP candidates (except for Sarah Palin), Fox News, and SC governor Nikki Haley. No doubt vote for that man means America reverting to an arctic land in the ice age.

      • skillet

        Hmm. Let’s see. We have NAFTA. Thanks to……CLINTONS !! Clintons supported war in Iraq ! Hillary is likely for title 9 kangaroo courts (unlike Sanders, thank God !) Hillary says she is against TPP but was for it and likely helped negotiate it. )

        Trump has said he is for social security. And most important Trump is……………………

        PRO-2ND AMENDMENT !!!!!!!!THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE !!!!!

      • Toolonggone

        And so!?

      • Toolonggone

        And so!?

    • CrimsonTears

      It’s a somewhat shaky situation though. Hate speech can be easily escalated to violence on a small or large scale. I am all for freedom, but that freedom shouldn’t be allowed to negatively impact the lives of others (seems like an oxymoron).

      I think people should be able to express their opinions towards atrocities and ensure that unknowns be known, but the lines are all too often blurred and it’s difficult to figure out where that line should be drawn.

      Someone used Donald Trump to further a fallacious argument, but it is true that Trump’s hate speech should be condemned. I am rather concerned about my nation’s future when someone who freely practices racist attitudes is a leading candidate as my nation’s leader.

  • Kessek

    Does Debito get paid in Dollars or Yen?

    • 69station

      I think they take both in Hawaii.

    • 69station

      I think they take both in Hawaii.

  • 1derer

    As a Canadian, it boggles my mind how bills such as this are controversial. Hate-speech is a form of violence.

    • CrimsonTears

      Not only that, but it’s often escalated to physical violence as well.

      • YoDude12

        Conflation. Punish the physical violence. The words are another story. Soon it is a glance you find threatening. Then it is my clothing, and soon thereafter it will be that fact that you feel threatened by someone who 30 years ago, when you were 5 years old, said, “I hate your new haircut.” It is far too slippery a slope.

    • Bob

      Hate-speech is not a form of violence.

      • primalxconvoy

        They meant “abuse”, which it is.

      • Blair

        I think it helpful that one’s views are exposed. If among those views happens to be a hatred of yours truly I’d prefer to know it. I prefer to know what people really think

      • YoDude12

        Don’t ever look at me or bump into me getting off the train. I may find your actions to be aggressive and violent. I may not like it when you say “hey,” and interpret your word as violent. You will have abused me, and you will be prosecuted.
        Think about it.

    • http://batman-news.com Zetobelt

      Well, we have Donald Trump doing hate-speech about inmigrants.

      • koedo

        What was hateful?

    • Blair

      I guess you’ve never been to a hockey game

    • YoDude12

      Naive at best. I am certain you would be in jail by now if what you support and propose were implemented. Think about it.

    • YoDude12

      Naive at best. I am certain you would be in jail by now if what you support and propose were implemented. Think about it.

  • skillet

    Oh my oh my, western liberals love to preach. I hope the Japanese resist the importation of victim hierarchies. “Hate speech” and PC legislation in general have been so abused in the USA and Europe.

    For example, a gay person lambasting heteronormative bias is not considered hate speech. But a straight person who criticizes the media pandering to LGBT is called a hater. And gets establishment backing.

    Better just to have free speech. But if Japanese do pass hate speech laws and they are enforced equally, it will also be a crime for foreign people to say racist things against the Japanese majority.

    I really hope Japan does not become PC.

    • R0ninX3ph

      People do have freedom of speech, what they don’t have is freedom from repercussions of their speech.

      Everyone is free to say whatever the hell they like, they aren’t free to avoid any responsibility from anything that occurs after they have said whatever they like.

      • Toolonggone

        That’s right. No one wants to be a jerk like Carly Fiorina.

      • Toolonggone

        That’s right. No one wants to be a jerk like Carly Fiorina.

    • R0ninX3ph

      People do have freedom of speech, what they don’t have is freedom from repercussions of their speech.

      Everyone is free to say whatever the hell they like, they aren’t free to avoid any responsibility from anything that occurs after they have said whatever they like.

    • R0ninX3ph

      People do have freedom of speech, what they don’t have is freedom from repercussions of their speech.

      Everyone is free to say whatever the hell they like, they aren’t free to avoid any responsibility from anything that occurs after they have said whatever they like.

  • LaughingBuddha

    technically, if people who make hate speeches are punished afterwards, the speech itself is still ‘free’, albeit with consequences. Let’s just punish these people after they finish.

  • tomado

    I’ve had people insult me because of my ethnicity. Do I want them to be arrested? No. Do I want the government to publicly shame them? No, I don’t believe in it. Now, if they start encouraging violence against me, then I’d say, “lock them up.”

  • tomado

    I do think this girl in the picture should be charged with something. Isn’t incitement on the books? If not, it should be. That’s enough. Threatening violence is the right place to draw the line.

  • http://batman-news.com Zetobelt

    Debito Arudou makes a good living badmouthing Japan…. That’s also freedom of speech, isn’t it?

  • Alfonso

    That year (2013) was very peculiar because there was too much hate from Korea , China and even Taiwan towards Japan , I remember in China stupid riots against japanese stores and even people who own a Honda or toyota was afraid to go out because people were smashing it .

    It was pretty stupid , also from Korea the classic angry koreans burning japanese flags and so on , but they were in their right of free speech too.

    The girl in Osaka was a result of all the hate surrounding her environment but she was a lonely voice so its remarkable nobody sum up to her movement , but she has the right to express what she thinks so it was respectful that nobody stop her and there is in fact a huge difference between saying something and actually being able to do it.

    I know Japan is a very close society and they don’t like foreigners , I’m from Mexico and when I go to Japan the first times I kind of upset to being constantly requested to show my passport to the police , this is very shameful but i got used, even In USA who is supposed to have a hard line on Mexicans i never experience this while traveling.

    • koedo

      You think the US has a hard line on Mexicans? That’s too funny. You know where there’s a real hard line; on the Mexico/Guatemala border.

      • Alfonso

        Yea it’s funny compared to the treatment our central american brothers receive from Mexicans .

        They need to take care of drug cartels , police , army , smugglers and so on , plus it’s not about bad treatment , their situation is about survival.

        Thousands have died violently so yea compared its a funny matter

  • http://batman-news.com Zetobelt

    A post of mine got deleted. So Japan Times has the same agenda that Japan Today.

  • http://batman-news.com Zetobelt

    The girl of the picture can not speak her mind about foreigners, but Debito Arudou can badmouth japanese people all he wants? That’s the freedom of speech that anglospeakers talks about?

  • http://batman-news.com Zetobelt

    Debito Arudou didn’t resign on his american citizenship. So, for me, he’s just another american expat looking for trouble in Japan.
    So, yes. The girl on the picture have some truth in her speech.

  • YoDude12

    Seems absurd to me – completely asinine. If I see a known and convicted rapist stalking a woman (a conviction, so a fact), and I tell my woman friend, “he is a convicted rapist, watch out,” I can be jailed for that? Someone hears me state a fact and because it “defames” the rapist I can be imprisoned. This is why hate speech cannot be criminalised.