The UN Hates Japan’s Hate Speech Indifference; LDP May Love Chance To Shut Up Protesters

Japanese bookstores are rife with anti-Korean magazines and periodicals that asperse Korea and ethnic Koreans living in Japan. This is a recent round-up of slurs and hate filled prose, including off-colour remarks from a Japanophile white man in Texas---Texas Daddy. (テキサスオヤジ)
Japan does not outlaw hate speech or hate crimes. Japanese bookstores are rife with anti-Korean magazines and periodicals that asperse Korea and ethnic Koreans living in Japan. This is a recent round-up of slurs and hate filled prose, including off-colour remarks from a Japanophile white man in Texas—Texas Daddy. (テキサス親父)Because who could know more about Korean and Japanese history than a white guy in Texas?

September 1st

The United Nations’ The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination last week issued a report urging to Japan to crack down on the growing  cases of “hate speech” targeting foreigners in Japan, especially hate speech against ethnic Koreans and other minorities. Japan currently has no law forbidding speech that promotes racism, sexism or violent attacks on minorities. Violent acts committed on the basis of racist and/or religious prejudice aka “hate crimes” are also not forbidden in Japan.

The panel suggested that Japan introduce legislation to outlaw hate-speech, investigate groups and/or individuals that take part, and prosecute them. Since the Abe administration took power in 2012, incidents of anti-korean protests and hostility towards ethnic koreans in Japan, as well as other foreigners, have become more noticeable and strident. The far-right, at their rallies, often  demands “an end to special treatment of Korean Japanese” and for their expulsion. The far right and the internet centred new right wing (ネット右翼、ネットウヨ)also campaign for revisionist histories of Japan and the banishment of all foreigners, not just ethnic Koreans.

The panel also suggested that Japan should reprimand and sanction public officials and politicians who engage in hate speech or promote intolerance.  The previous governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, made several racist statements that did not advance the image of Japan.

Japan joined the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1995. Since then the committee has given Japan two improvement orders and this time was the third. The panel asserted that the Japanese government should work on accepting its past history of aggression and exploitation of non-Japanese during Japan’s imperial era, and that it should also work on eliminating discrimination against foreign workers.  It did not directly address Japan’s shoddy treatment of foreign nationals, who must pay taxes, but are legally denied the welfare benefits from doing so.

The UN committee does not give ratings to countries on well they are doing in “eliminating racial discrimination” but the essence of third improvement order to Japan was: “you’re failing miserably. Do something.”  And sure enough, according to some reports, the ruling coalition is moving forwards to draft some kind of  legislation banning: “hate crimes”.

However, many in the legal community feel that the current government will use the new anti “hate crime” legislation to stifle anti-nuclear protests or criticism of the government. The Liberal Democratic Party hates criticism. It’s win-win situation for the Japanese government of Japan. They can save face with the UN while shutting up those annoying anti-nuclear protestors or perhaps even critics of the government. Actually combatting racism doesn’t need to be done at all.

Banzai.

 

 

 

High court upholds hate speech ruling

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Osaka High Court upheld a previous lower court ruling banning the use of hate speech by an anti-Korean group which had been holding rallies in front of a Korean school in Kyoto.

The court ordered ultra right-wing group Zaitokukai (在特会), whose name translates to Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi, to pay ¥12.26 million in damages to the school and banned the group from holding hate-speech rallies around the school. 

Presiding judge, Hiroshi Mori said that Zaitokukai’s activities “fall under discrimination, and is unworthy of protection under the law.”

According to the courts, between 2009 and 2010 eight Zaitokukai members had used a loudspeaker in front of the Korean school, yelled out abuse such as “Koreans should be disposed of in health centers!” and accused the students of being the children of North Korean spies. The lower court ruled last October that the group’s actions fell under discrimination–the first racial discrimination ruling against the group.

The group appealed the ruling, arguing that their rallies fell under free speech and that the amount of compensation they were required to pay to the school was too high.

Last year the group gained attention in the media for holding anti-Korean protests in the middle of Shin-Okubo, a district in Tokyo near a Korean neighbourhood known for a large concentration of Korean restaurants and shops. Members of the group were seen chanting slogans and holding up signs that were considered discriminatory.

According to the Zaitokukai’s website, the group boasts around 14, 500 members and oppose the permanent residency status given to ethnic Koreans in Japan, many of whom descended from labourers who were forcibly brought to the country during World War II.