Stung by domestic and international criticism the government is far too tolerant of hate speech, and embarrassed by past Cabinet ministers who failed to condemn such acts, the Abe administration is finally planning to take decisive action on the problem.

But instead of binding legal measures, the action will take the form of a public relations offensive that might be called a "mind your manners" campaign.

In November, the Justice Ministry announced it would take a number of steps this year to combat hate speech. These include placing advertisements in newspapers, putting up posters, passing out pamphlets, posting signs at train stations and running notices on the Internet and making sure there are sufficient facilities where the problem can be "studied."