• Kyodo

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The Justice Ministry said Tuesday it has warned a man for making discriminatory remarks deemed as hate speech against Korean women during a demonstration he organized in Kawasaki in January.

The move came as Japan is stepping up efforts to tackle human rights violations stemming from hate speech, most recently by enacting a law designed to deter such activities. It is the second time the ministry has admonished individuals on the issue.

The latest warning was not issued based on the law, which took effect in June. But a ministry official said it was given on the back of “growing momentum” to achieve a society in which no one will suffer from “unjust discriminatory behavior.”

According to the ministry, the man violated the Korean women’s human rights by yelling on the streets and elsewhere, “I’m going to slowly strangle you!”

In the warning, dated Monday, the ministry told the man not to make hate speech remarks again.

Yasuko Morooka, a lawyer who has expertise on hate speech issues, said there is significance in the ministry action even though it has no coercive force, because the warning included the word “discrimination” and also quoted words seen in the hate speech law.

Hate speech has been an issue in the city of Kawasaki since around 2013, with events being organized by the man and others.

The first admonition issued by the ministry over hate speech was in December last year to a former representative of the anti-Korean activist group Zaitokukai.

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