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Hi Blog. Good news. Japan finally has something on the books that deals with hate speech in Japan, giving it definition and scorn: A local ordinance (jourei) in Osaka. The bad news is that this ordinance does not criminalize or penalize the perpetrator, or give much support to the victim. As Eric Johnston notes below, there are no fines for haters, insufficient help for victims, and little more than an official frowning-at (a “naming and shaming”) of people who are probably beyond shame.
However, one bright side is that naming and shaming is precisely what Debito.org does to racist exclusionary “Japanese Only” businesses (that is basically all Debito.org can do, of course). The reason why this is a source of brightness is that our naming and shaming has occasioned criticism from apologists for being “un-Japanese” in approach. This ordinance now officially makes the approach Japanized. So there.
And given that the last attempt to do something like this, a decade ago, ended in dismal failure (where anti-discrimination legislation in Tottori was passed and then UNpassed), I have the feeling that this time the legislation will stick. It’s a step in the right direction, and Debito.org salutes Osaka for finally getting something on the books. Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
Osaka to adopt Japan’s first anti-hate speech ordinance
January 14, 2016, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, courtesy of JK
OSAKA–Rabble-rousers who use hate speech are to be named and shamed here in the first official crackdown on verbal racism in Japan.
Osaka, home to many ethnic Koreans who are often the victims of such attacks, is set to adopt an ordinance aimed at punishing those suspected of using hate speech against ethnic minorities.
A hate speech examination committee will be set up–comprised of scholars and lawyers–to pore over details of verbal attacks if a complaint is lodged by a victim living in the city.
If the panel judges the attack to be hate speech, the city government will name the perpetrator, whether it be an organization or individual, and publicize outlines of the incident on its website or in other places.
The move is intended to demonstrate Osaka’s determination to eradicate hate speech while deliberations on a bill seeking to ban such racism in the Diet have made little progress.
The city assembly is expected to pass the draft ordinance during the plenary session on Jan. 15.
The ordinance defines hate speech as despising and slandering with the aim of excluding an individual or group of a particular race or ethnicity from society and inciting hatred and a sense of discrimination toward them.
Osaka assembly passes nation’s first ordinance against hate speech
BY ERIC JOHNSTON, THE JAPAN TIMES, JAN 15, 2016
OSAKA – The city of Osaka passed the nation’s first ordinance by a major city against hate speech late Friday.
The text is a watered-down version of a proposal that the assembly made last year and will serve merely to name and shame perpetrators.
It does not provide city funds to victims of hate speech for use in fighting the perpetrators in court. Nor does it fine those who make racial slurs and threats of violence.
Instead, the ordinance creates a committee that investigates allegations of hate speech filed by Osaka residents.
The committee is expected to consist of five academic and legal experts whose appointments must be approved by the assembly. If the committee judges that a particular group is engaged in hate speech, its name will be posted on the city’s website.
Last year’s version of the ordinance failed to win the assembly’s approval because of disagreement over a provision that would have given the city the authority to loan money to victims who secure recognition by the committee and who want to take their case to court.
Although the ordinance was supported by then-Mayor Toru Hashimoto and his Osaka Ishin no kai (One Osaka) local party, the measure was opposed by the LDP and Komeito.
Earlier in the session of the the municipal assembly deliberating the ordinance, a man in the gallery threw two colored balls filled with orange paint onto the floor, bringing the discussions to a standstill.
When the man was subdued by guards, he resisted by shouting, “Protect the self-esteem of Japanese people,” Kyodo News reported.
After the disruption, the session resumed late Friday night.
Osaka became the international focus of hate speech in 2013, following an incident that February in which the anti-Korean group Zaitokukai held a rally in the city’s Tsuruhashi district, home to many ethnic Koreans.