News that Hana Kimura, a 22-year-old pro wrestler who starred in the popular reality show "Terrace House," apparently committed suicide after receiving hundreds of hate messages sent shock waves across the nation late last month. It was a tragic reminder that the government has been slow in taking measures to protect victims of cyberbullying.
"Some people say that you should just refrain from reading these comments online. But social media has become an essential part of our lives and it is extremely difficult not to see them," Shiori Ito, a journalist and symbol of Japan’s #MeToo movement, stated at a recent news conference.
Ito has been receiving online hate messages for more than three years after going public with a rape accusation against Noriyuki Yamaguchi, a former Washington bureau chief of Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc. Some of the hate messages were directed at her family and friends as well. After scrutinizing some 700,000 messages online, she filed a lawsuit on Monday against cartoonist Toshiko Hasumi and two others for defaming her on Twitter. Ito claims Hasumi’s cartoon defamed her by suggesting she filed a false rape accusation and is pretending to be a rape victim.