Kyoto-The Kyoto District Court has ruled that 'hate speech' rallies are not protected free speech. Sparked by Zaitokukai anti-Korean rallies outside a Kyoto Korean school, the court has also ordered the activists to pay 12 million yen ($120,000) in damages for disrupting classes and frightening children.
Though this ruling is focused on ethnic Koreans and despite the relatively low attendance of these rallies, lawmakers said this paramount ruling will affect future interpreting of Japan's constitutional right to free speech.
Presiding Judge Hitoshi Hashizume said the actions of Zaitokukai members and other activists who shouted hate-speech slogans near the school and posted video footage of the demonstrations online were “illegal.”
The actions “constitute racial discrimination as defined by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” which Japan has ratified, Hashizume said. (japantimes)
“Japanese society has been too insensitive to racial discrimination,” said Yoshifu Arita, an opposition lawmaker who is starting a parliamentary panel with a dozen colleagues to introduce hate speech legislation. “We must take steps to eradicate hate speech against Korean and Chinese people, and address broader discrimination problems.”
Anti-Korean rallies have escalated this year and spread to other cities with Korean communities. In Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district, dotted with Korean restaurants and shops popular among South Korean pop-culture fans, hundreds of Zaitokukai members and supporters have called Koreans “cockroaches,” shouted “Kill Koreans” and threatened to “throw them into the sea.”
The rallies have grown more intense, with anti-racism activists yelling back and sometimes getting into scuffles. In June, Zaitokukai leader Makoto Sakurai and seven others from both sides were arrested.
Officials from Zaitokukai, which has more than 10,000 members, said they were protesting the Kyoto school’s use of a nearby city-run park without permission. They say they are protesting alleged “special privileges” given to ethnic Koreans, and say Japan’s welfare system is abused by Korean residents.
“Saying ‘Let’s kill Koreans’ isn’t illegal, so it’s OK to say that. We’ve kept quiet for too long and we’ve had enough,” Sakurai told The Associated Press at a rally earlier this year. “Koreans hate us so much so we just tell them to go home. Call us racists if you want.” (washingtonpost)
Very interesting... I know Japan has been repeatedly criticized for not handling these hate speech rallies so I think this is a step in the right direction. I also think it is fitting that Kansai would push this ruling. Thoughts Arama?