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Citizens' group fighting hate speech calls for effective operation of ordinance in Kawasaki

Tomohito Miura, right, and Choi Kang-ija of a Kawasaki citizens' network fighting hate speech hold a press conference ahead of the third anniversary of the implementation of the city's human rights ordinance, which imposes fines for hate speech, in Kawasaki on Dec. 8, 2022. (Mainichi/Yoshiya Goto)

KAWASAKI -- A local citizens' group called on the Kawasaki Municipal Government on Dec. 8 to take measures against serious online hate speech, ahead of the third anniversary of the implementation of the city's human rights ordinance, the first in the nation to impose fines for hate speech.

    At a Dec. 8 press conference held by the Kawasaki citizens' network fighting hate speech, Tomohito Miura, a member of the group's secretariat, highly rated the deterrent effect of the ordinance, which first came into force on Dec. 16, 2019, and fully came into effect with fines for hate speech on July 1, 2020.

    "After the enactment of the ordinance, the situation where unacceptable hate speech such as 'kill them' or 'die' was repeated on the streets has greatly improved," he said. At the same time, he pointed out that hate speech is spreading online and as an offshoot of this "hate crimes are already happening in the city."

    Choi Kang-ija, a 49-year-old member of the network and a third-generation Korean resident in Japan, has been subjected to serious human rights violations, including death threats against "Zainichi" Korean residents of Japan and threatening letters telling her to "die" sent to her workplace, as well as being targeted by hate speech and discrimination crimes on the internet.

    Choi commented, "Since the ordinance was created with the declaration of 'protecting citizens,' we would like to support and foster it together with everyone," and expressed hope that it would be effectively operated.

    The group specifically urged the municipal government to implement online monitoring and promote active and prompt removal requests to internet service providers in order to help victims.

    (Japanese original by Yoshiya Goto, Photo Group)

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