On May 2, the Cabinet Office removed the posts on its Government Monitor System (GMS) website, a place where citizens offered comments on government policy. The system was established in 1962 to solicit opinions from the public about government policy, but until 2012 it was a snail mail operation. Thereafter, business was carried out over the internet, that is until April of last year, when the site stopped accepting new comments but kept the older ones up. Then, a few weeks ago, a blog called Logi Report claimed that many of the posts qualified as hate speech, and the internet lit up, attracting the attention of the mainstream media, which didn’t seem to know about the GMS prior to Logi Report’s article.
Consequently, many outlets, including The Japan Times, ran stories about some of the commentary on the GMS site and asked the Cabinet Office about it. As Buzzfeed Japan reported on May 7, the gist of the government’s response was cautious and unsatisfying. An anonymous source told Buzzfeed Japan that there was no clear definition of discrimination and thus the government was reluctant to “censor” any of the comments. Then, suddenly, the comments vanished, with the official reason being that the site was no longer needed because it had accomplished its purpose.