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.