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Man loses appeal over fine for hate speech against pro-Pyongyang school in Kyoto

The Osaka High Court building. (Mainichi/Kazuhisa Soneda)

OSAKA -- The Osaka High Court on Sept. 14 dismissed an appeal by a former member of the anti-Korean group Zaitokukai over a Kyoto District Court ruling that fined him 500,000 yen (about $4,733) for hate speech against a pro-Pyongyang school in the western Japan city of Kyoto.

    The defendant, Hitoshi Nishimura, 51, former head of the Kyoto branch of Zaitokukai, plans to make a final appeal to the Supreme Court. It's the first lawsuit in Japan over defamation for hate speech.

    According to the high court ruling, Nishimura delivered a speech using a loudspeaker at a park near the former site of Kyoto Chosen Daiichi elementary school in Kyoto's Minami Ward in April 2017, stating, "The Korean school that used to be located here kidnaps Japanese nationals." He also streamed his speech online.

    The high court pointed out that "it's obvious that the speech was against the school" for reasons including that Nishimura carried out the act near the school site, and the defamation charges were confirmed.

    Zaitokukai is short for Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (Association of citizens against special privileges for Korean residents in Japan).

    (Japanese original by Takumi Fujikawa, Osaka City News Department)

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