NGOs pressure Japan to heed U.N. call against anti-Korean hate speech


Several nongovernmental organizations have urged the Japanese government to comply with the U.N. Human Rights Committee’s call on Thursday to ban activities that support hate speech directed against Korean residents of the country.

At a new conference in Tokyo on Friday, Megumi Komori, deputy director general of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, called for Japan to comprehensively reform its legal system to ban such discrimination.

“Groups that engage in hate speech often claim freedom of expression, but the freedom should not be guaranteed when it infringes on others’ rights,” she said.

The U.N. committee’s call follows a rise in rallies and confrontations organized by anti-Korean groups and those opposed to the ethnic minority’s activities, particularly in Tokyo’s Shinokubo district and Osaka’s Tsuruhashi area, both of which are known as Koreatowns.

The U.N. committee also urged Japan in its report to ensure that allegations of wartime sexual slavery or other human rights violations are effectively investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished.

Mina Watanabe, secretary general of the Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace, said, “It may seem impossible to prosecute past perpetrators, but it is a common practice required internationally to get at the truth.”

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