The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from a group of anti-Korean activists that used hate speech against a Korean school in Kyoto.
The decision finalizes a high court ruling ordering the group to pay some ¥12 million in damages to the school’s operator and banning it from demonstrating near the school, court officials said Wednesday.
The decision, dated Tuesday, was issued by the top court’s No. 3 Petty Bench, a panel of five justices headed by Toshimitsu Yamasaki. It centered on a July ruling by the Osaka High Court, in which the Zaitokukai group claimed it was protesting what it says are privileges enjoyed by Korean residents in Japan.
According to the high court ruling, members of the group staged anti-Korean demonstrations near the pro-Pyongyang elementary school in Kyoto’s Minami Ward on three occasions between 2009 and 2010, chanting anti-Korean slogans via loudspeakers. The slogans included calls to close Korean schools in Japan, labeling their pupils the “children of spies.”
The group posted video footage of their demonstrations online.
In October 2013, the Kyoto District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff in the case, school operator Kyoto Chosen Gakuen, determining that Zaitokukai intended to spread anti-Korean sentiment among the Japanese people and that its activities constituted “racial discrimination” as defined by an international convention ratified by Japan.
In its decision last July, the Osaka High Court upheld the ruling and said Zaitokukai members interfered with the school operator providing ethnic education, and dismissed the group’s assertion that its demonstrations were a matter of freedom of assembly and expression.
Zaitokukai head Yasuhiro Yagi responded to the ruling through a lawyer, saying the court had ignored freedom of political speech.
Hundreds of thousands of people with Korean backgrounds and permanent resident status live in Japan.