High court doubles damages owed by anti-Korean group, labels attack against Japanese as racist

Kyodo

Meta

The Takamatsu High Court has nearly doubled the damages that the anti-Korean group Zaitokukai must pay for making a racist attack against a teachers union for financially supporting a pro-Pyongyang school.

It is the first time that a court has ruled that an act by Zaitokukai targeted against Japanese citizens was based on racism, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

The high court on Monday ordered the group to pay a total of ¥4.36 million, up from the ¥2.3 million in damages that was ordered by the Tokushima District Court in March 2015.

The high court was acting on an appeal filed by the Tokushima prefectural teachers union and a former secretary-general of the organization, a 64-year-old woman. They were seeking ¥20 million in damages from Zaitokukai and 10 supporters for entering a union office and insulting the official in April 2010.

They called her a “traitor” and a “Koreans’ dog” over a loudspeaker and physically harassed her, with video of the incident being posted on the Internet, according to the high court ruling.

The presiding judge, Hiroyasu Ikushima, said Zaitokukai’s actions were “aimed at broadly letting people know that supporters of Korean residents in Japan, against whom the group discriminates, will become subject to attacks and damage.”

Zaitokukai’s actions were also intended to “intimidate supporters’ (of Koreans)” and incite further incidents, the judge said. “There is no doubt that the act is based on racist ideology.”

The teachers union has been the target of attacks by Zaitokukai since it began providing financial aid to Shikoku Korean Elementary and Junior High School in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, near Tokushima, according to the ruling.

In the first trial, the attack in April 2010 was not determined as being based on racism as the targets were Japanese citizens.

Zaitokukai has been engaged in hate speech against Korean residents in Japan.

The plaintiffs claimed in the high court that even if Japanese citizens were the target of the group’s attack in this case, the act itself was aimed at harming Korean residents.