- The subject of cyberbullying had previously been brought up in Japan.
- The new regulations are opposed by some legal professionals.
- Cyberbullying is a crime.
A prison sentence of up to one year and other harsher penalties for online insults became effective in Japan on Thursday in an effort to combat cyberbullying.The new Penal Code increased the fine for internet insults to up to JPY 300,000 ($2,200), according to Japan Times. This is a major improvement over the prior penalties, which included a fine of up to JPY 10,000 ($75) and incarceration for less than 30 days.
According to the site, the statute of limitations for insults has been raised from one year to three years.After Hana Kimura, a 22-year-old professional wrestler and cast member of the well-known Netflix reality series “Terrace House,” allegedly committed suicide in May 2020 after getting multiple abusive messages on social media, Japan toughened its position on online insults.
The news of her suicide sent shockwaves across the country, and many people pointed to the online harassment she had endured in the months before her death.Two males in the prefectures of Osaka and Fukui were each fined JPY 9,000 ($66) for remarks posted about Ms. Kimura before she passed away.
Later on, though, Japanese citizens voiced their worry that the punishments were too lenient, which sparked a campaign for legislative amendments.After the ruling Liberal Democratic Party struck an understanding with the Constitutional Democratic Party and other parties, the bill imposing harsher punishments was approved on June 13 during an Upper House plenary session.
They all agreed that an additional clause would be included, stating that it will be reviewed within three years of being passed to see if it unfairly limits free speech. According to Japan Times, the nation’s Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa said on Tuesday that tougher penalties were important because they show that cyberbullying is a crime that should be dealt with harshly and serve as a deterrence.He even went on to declare that the action wouldn’t constitute an unfair limitation on the right to free expression.
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