Lawmakers from several parties are considering legislation to fight hate speech, according to informed sources.
They have come up with a draft that would ban discriminatory speech and behavior on the grounds of race and other characteristics.
In its current form, the bill would provide for no penalties against offenders.
“By making hate speech illegal, it will create an atmosphere in which such behavior is not socially allowed,” a representative of the group said.
The lawmakers intend to seek cooperation from the ruling and opposition parties to submit the bill during the current extraordinary Diet session.
The group is comprised of members from the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party), the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, as well as Komeito, the junior member of the ruling coalition.
The lawmakers started discussions on a new bill last spring, when hate-speech rallies by the anti-Korean group Zaitokukai came to be recognized as a social issue.
The draft provides for support by the central and local governments for Internet service providers’ voluntary efforts to restrict discriminatory expressions.
It would create a new panel under the Cabinet Office that would propose and advise the prime minister on measures to prevent racial discrimination.
DPJ Policy Research Committee head Tetsuro Fukuyama called last week for cooperation from other opposition parties for the bill.
Separately, a ruling Liberal Democratic Party task force that has discussed countermeasures against hate speech will consider whether a bill is necessary.