National / Social Issues

Justice Ministry distributes examples of hate speech to combat discrimination

The Justice Ministry said Saturday that it has sent examples of discriminatory language and behavior banned by the law on racist propaganda and hate speech to about 70 governments across the country.

The examples include threats to kill people of certain nationalities and extreme insults, such as comments that compare certain groups of people to bugs and animals, or remarks like “Go back to your home country.”

Language with the clear intention to exclude specific groups of people is also deemed hate speech, the examples indicate.

The law designed to deter hate speech was enacted last May, but questions remain about its effectiveness because it lacks a clear definition of discriminatory language and behavior. It also prescribes no punishment for using such language or engaging in such behavior.

A total of 13 municipalities, including Kawasaki and Osaka, where hate speech is frequently heard, had asked the ministry for specific examples of offending remarks because of the difficulty of determining when language is no longer protected as free speech by the Constitution.

The examples were presented to governments that asked the ministry for examples, it said.

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