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Justice Ministry warns former anti-Korean group leader against hate speech

The Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau issued an advisory against hate speech campaigns on Dec. 22, urging a former anti-Korean activist group leader to stop making threatening speeches against Koreans in Japan, it has been learned.

    The group, which is known as "Zaitokukai" and advocates against what it calls "special privileges" for Korean residents of Japan, is accused of repeatedly staging hate-speech campaigns in front of Korea University in the Tokyo suburb of Kodaira, with phrases such as "Kick Koreans out of Japan."

    Although the Dec. 22 advisory is not legally binding, it is believed to be the first of its kind ever to be issued by the Justice Ministry to protect human rights from hate speech abuses.

    According to the Justice Ministry's Human Rights Bureau and lawyers representing two students who reported the incidents, the former Zaitokukai leader and others staged hate-speech campaigns in front of the school's gate in November 2008, November 2009 and November 2011, when the school was having an annual festival.

    After the students filed a damage report earlier this year, the Justice Ministry began investigating the demonstrations as human rights violations. The Dec. 22 advisory recognized the illegality of the speeches made by the former leader and others present, stating that they "caused fear (among students) by stirring up sentiments that could be meant to cause harm to students' lives and health." The advisory urged the former leader to reflect on his action as illegal for giving a deep sense of fear and distress to the victims, and to stop taking similar actions. "The speeches undermine human dignity and cannot be overlooked in light of human rights protection," the advisory said.

    Yasuko Morooka, a lawyer representing the victims, praised the legal affairs bureau's measures.

    "The advisory is non-binding. Under the current legal system, hate speech targeting unspecified groups cannot be recognized as illegal. It is necessary to establish legislation for the government to clearly assume the responsibility for eliminating racial discrimination and providing relief to victims," she said.

    The following are some samples of the hate speech phrases used in the Zaitokukai anti-Korean campaigns mentioned above, released by the Justice Ministry.

    (On Nov. 9, 2008)

    "Kick Koreans out of Japan"

    "Push criminal Koreans into Tokyo Bay"

    (On Nov. 1, 2009)

    "We will go all the way. We will absolutely never stop fighting until there are no crimes committed by Koreans, and Koreans and criminal Koreans are forced out of Japan."

    (On Nov. 6, 2011)

    "Come out Koreans who are listening there. Come on out so we can beat you to death. Don't fool Japanese, you cockroaches."

    "Come on out if you guys have pride as North Koreans. You come forward so you can get tormented to death for the sake of Kim Jong Il. Come on out so we can kill you."

    "Don't assume Japanese will stay silent forever and ever. You have shed too much blood. Next time around, it's our turn to shed your blood."

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