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Man hit with defamation charges for hate speech against Korean school in Kyoto

KYOTO -- A former senior member of the anti-Korean resident hate speech group Zaitokukai has been indicted without arrest on libel charges over alleged hate speech last year against a pro-Pyongyang Korean school.

According to a lawyer for the school, this marks the first time that prosecutors have treated hate speech by the group or its members as criminal defamation of character.

Local prosecutors charged 49-year-old Hitoshi Nishimura, a resident of Kyoto's Ukyo Ward, with defaming the school. In April last year he allegedly said via a loudspeaker near the school, "We must drive out (from Japan) a school that has kidnapped Japanese," while his speech was streamed live online.

The Kyoto Korean High-Junior School, which operates North Korean schools in Kyoto, filed a criminal complaint at Kyoto Prefectural Police's Minami Police Station in June last year accusing Nishimura of defamation of character.

"My actions were not defamation of character. I haven't received a written indictment yet," Nishimura told the Mainichi Shimbun on April 23.

(Japanese original by Masateru Sawaki and Hajime Nakatsugawa, Kyoto Bureau)

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