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Japanese high court upholds ruling against anti-Korean activists’ hate speech

Kyodo

The Osaka High Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that branded as “discriminatory” demonstrations staged near a pro-Pyongyang Korean school by anti-Korean activists who used hate-speech slogans.

A three-judge high court panel turned down an appeal by the Zaitokukai group against the Kyoto District Court decision ordering that it pay about ¥12 million in damages to the school operator, Kyoto Chosen Gakuen.

The order also banned the group from staging demonstrations near the school in Minami Ward, Kyoto.

Presiding Judge Hiroshi Mori said in the high court ruling that Zaitokukai members staged the demonstrations near the school with the intention of spreading anti-Korean sentiment among Japanese people.

Mori said Zaitokukai members’ activities were not intended to serve the public interest and that the group’s actions seriously damaged the school’s provision of ethnic education.

The ruling found that eight Zaitokukai activists staged anti-Korean demonstrations near the school three times between 2009 and 2010, using loudspeakers to denounce those inside.

They yelled slogans, accusing the students of being “children of North Korean agents” and demanding that all ethnic Koreans be kicked out of Japan.

The activists posted footage of their activities on the Internet.

In October 2013, the Kyoto District Court accepted a lawsuit by the school operator, ordering the nationalist group to pay damages and noting that Zaitokukai’s activities run counter to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which came into force in 1969. Japan ratified the convention in 1995.

During the high court hearings, Zaitokukai argued that their members exercised their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and argued that the damages were excessive.

Zaitokukai, which says on its website it has about 14,500 members, calls for the abolition of the right for ethnic Koreans to live in Japan permanently.

Some Korean residents are allowed to stay in Japan permanently as they or their parents and grandparents were forcibly taken to Japan before and during World War II. The Korean Peninsula was under Japan’s colonial rule between 1910 and 1945.

Four of the eight defendants have been convicted of forcible obstruction of business and destruction of property in connection with the demonstrations.

  • Charlie Sommers

    Xenophobia is ugly and should not be tolerated anywhere. There are xenophobes in the USA also. These people need to come to the realization that people from all countries have much in common and ultimately pursue the same goals, life liberty, and happiness. We should all be happy to be citizens of the world and forget national boundaries.

  • itoshima2012

    Dark day for free speech! Obviously I don’t agree with those idiots but they should be free to express their views like in the US. Bad day for freedom indeed….