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Kawasaki becomes first local gov't to deny hate group use of park

KAWASAKI -- The Kawasaki Municipal Government announced May 31 that it had denied a group that has staged numerous hate demonstrations in the past the use of a municipal park in accordance with a new law designed to deter hate speech, which was enacted on May 24.

This is believed to be the first time that the use of a public facility or space has been denied for reasons of hate speech.

The group in question had applied to the city of Kawasaki for permission to use the park for the purpose of holding a rally on June 5.

"There is an extremely high likelihood that the applicant would exhibit the same sort of language and behavior that it has in the past," Mayor Norihiko Fukuda commented. "The decision (to deny permission to use the park) was made based on our position that we must protect the safety and dignity of city residents from wrongful discriminatory speech and behavior."

The new anti-hate speech law dictates that it is the central government's responsibility to take action to eliminate discriminatory language and behavior, and that municipal governments must make efforts to do the same.

According to a Kawasaki citizens' network fighting hate speech, at least 13 incidents of hate speech or hate demonstrations targeting Zainichi Koreans have taken place in the city of Kawasaki since 2013.

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