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Activists urge gov't to counter hate speech during lower house race

Anti-hate speech activists have submitted a petition to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry calling for measures against discriminatory acts targeting specific ethnic groups in the run-up to the Oct. 22 general election.

Ryang Yong-song, head of the Anti Racism Information Center (ARIC), and other petitioners visited the ministry headquarters in Tokyo and handed over their petition calling for measures against hate speech as well as hate crimes during the election campaign period that kicks off on Oct. 10.

"We'd like the ministry to work to prevent violence stemming from activities that fuel discrimination," Ryang was quoted as telling ministry officials.

In the petition, the ARIC points out that even though anti-hate speech legislation came into force in June 2016, there have been moves to ferment xenophobia in election campaign rallies. A statement from the group asks the ministry to urge candidates to stage their election campaigns in line with the legislation, and conduct surveys on hate speech during the campaign period.

According to the ARIC, campaign staffers for political parties with xenophobic views engaged in activities to stir up racial discrimination during campaigning for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election this past July.

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