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Over 60% of online hate posts against Korean resident of Japan deemed illegal

Choi Kang-ija, right, and attorney Yasuko Morooka are seen during a press conference in the city of Kawasaki on Sept. 8, 2022. (Mainichi/Yoshiya Goto)

KAWASAKI -- Over 60% of 300 online posts which were raised in a Korean resident's report as cases of hate speech against her were recognized as illegal human rights violations by the Legal Affairs Bureau, the woman and her attorney said at a press conference on Sept. 8.

    Meanwhile, it was also revealed that the woman, who lives in the Kanagawa Prefecture city of Kawasaki, requested that the municipal government delete the posts before filing a report with the Legal Affairs Bureau. However, a majority of the posts were apparently deemed ineligible for relief measures based on the city's human rights ordinance, and the attorney called for an improvement in the ordinance's execution.

    During the press conference held in Kawasaki, the woman Choi Kang-ija, a 49-year-old third-generation Korean resident of Japan, and her lawyer Yasuko Morooka said that until June 2020, Choi had filed a request with the Kawasaki Municipal Government to have some 340 posts removed based on the city's ordinance. However, the city apparently referred only eight cases to its expert panel for assessment.

    Following the city's response, Choi filed a damages report against human rights violations with the Yokohama District Legal Affairs Bureau in December 2020. The bureau recognized the illegal nature under the Civil Code for over 90% of 38 posts in blogs and online bulletin boards, as well as 60% of 262 posts on Twitter, and demanded the internet service providers remove the posts. Among the posts were ones that were not recognized as hate speech by the Kawasaki Municipal Government.

    Furthermore, the Legal Affairs Bureau notified providers about posts which despite being ineligible as illegal acts under the Civil Code could be determined as "unjust acts and speech of discrimination" specified in Japan's anti-hate speech law.

    Based on the city of Kawasaki's anti-hate ordinance, the section in charge of carrying out the ordinance first determines that requests to delete certain posts should be made and consults the expert panel about the discriminatory posts. Following the panel's response, the municipal government then files a request to have the posts removed.

    There have been claims that the system is "extremely slow, leading to insufficient relief measures for victims." In March last year, a body specializing in human rights which was set up in the municipal government also demanded that the city review its range of cases for consultation with the expert panel in order to effectively provide relief measures.

    In the Sept. 8 press conference, Choi commented, "I would have suffered greatly had it not been for the Legal Affairs Bureau's response. I hope that this positive decision will strengthen moves toward saving victims in Kawasaki."

    Satoshi Matsumoto, chief of the Kawasaki Municipal Government's office for human rights and gender equality, said, "If the Justice Ministry made different decisions from us for the same cases, we would like to consider the reasons behind such differences and utilize this knowledge for future administrations."

    (Japanese original by Yoshiya Goto, Photo Group)

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