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2014年9月 3日 (水)

社説:ヘイトスピーチ 差別許さない社会へ

September 02, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Discrimination should never be tolerated
社説:ヘイトスピーチ 差別許さない社会へ

Japan's response to racist hate speech demonstrations that are being staged across the country has been called into question. Until recently, hate speech campaigns were repeatedly conducted in urban areas where the population of ethnic Korean residents is concentrated, but they are now spreading to other areas.

A Mainichi Shimbun survey on the nation's 47 prefectural governments and 20 ordinance-designated major cities has shown that some 90 percent of these local bodies view such campaigns as a problem. One of the respondents criticized hate speech as "a shameful act," while another replied that hate speech is "unforgivable as it fosters a sense of discrimination."

In a nationwide opinion poll that the Mainichi Shimbun conducted last month, nearly 70 percent of respondents expressed displeasure at such campaigns.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Japan on Aug. 29 to respond to hate speech in an appropriate manner. The government must implement appropriate countermeasures against such campaigns while sincerely listening to these opinions expressed in Japan and abroad.

Hate speech constitutes slander and insult against different races and ethnic groups. It is intolerable to launch such mass campaigns on roads and other places open to the public in which participants repeatedly chant such violent words as "We'll kill you," or "Get out of Japan." Those who were targeted by such campaigns certainly feel intimidated. It is impossible to defend hate speech demonstrations by citing the freedom of expression, which is a fundamental human right.

Japan has no legislation that specifically bans hate speech. Such being the case, attention is now focused on whether such a law is necessary. Calm debate is necessary on how to rid Japanese society of discriminatory speech.

Priority should be placed on efforts to pursue both the criminal and civil responsibility of those who organized or are involved in hate speech within the current legal framework. Many members of organizations that stage hate speech marches were involved in violent behavior during past demonstrations. As such, it goes without saying that police officers must strictly crack down on them for illegal activities.

In October 2013, the Kyoto District Court ordered an organization that staged hate speech demonstrations near a pro-Pyongyang Korean school in the ancient capital to pay the school 12 million yen in damages and banned the group from launching such activities near the school. The court calculated the amount of compensation at higher levels than usual based on provisions in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Japan is a party. The Osaka High Court upheld the ruling in July this year. Courts should make judicial judgment in tune with the common thinking of the international community.

Politicians are beginning to take action to eliminate hate speech. A project team on the issue within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held its first meeting on countermeasures against hate speech. Some members pointed to the need to consider regulating loud demonstrations around the Diet Building, apparently with anti-nuclear power and other campaigns in mind. However, such an argument that treats hate speech the same as citizens' movements is out of the question. Such regulations could infringe on the freedom of expression. Politicians should seriously deal with discrimination that threatens individuals' dignity.

Japan has historically maintained relations with China and South Korea. It is necessary for each and every member of the public to squarely face up to the sense of discrimination that persists within their own society. Apparently behind the recent prevalence of hate speech are Tokyo's chilled relations with Beijing and Seoul. It is essential for Japan to improve its strained ties with these two countries and overcome differences through education and awareness-raising campaigns and create a society that never tolerates discrimination.

毎日新聞 2014年09月02日 02時31分


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