Japan’s First Bill to Punish Hate Speech Passed in Kawasaki

Demonstrators protest against hate speech in Kawasaki in May 2019

The city of Kawasaki on Monday submitted to its assembly an ordinance bill to introduce criminal penalties for hate speech, the first in Japan.

Japan enacted in 2016 a law designed to deter hate speech, but it lacks provisions to ban or punish the use of discriminatory language, leading critics to call for tougher steps to eradicate discrimination against ethnic minorities.

“In order to promote the creation of a city in which no citizens are subjected to unjust discrimination, we will deepen discussions and work toward enacting the ordinance,” Kawasaki Mayor Norihiko Fukuda said.

The Kawasaki bill, expected to pass the assembly in mid-December and take effect on July 1, bans discriminatory remarks against a person from a particular country or region in public spaces such as on the street or in a park.

It calls for issuing advisories and orders to violators and disclosing the names and addresses of repeated violators while making them punishable with a fine of up to 500,000 yen ($4,600).


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