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2014年12月13日 (土)

(社説)ヘイトスピーチ 社会も問われている

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 12
(社説)ヘイトスピーチ 社会も問われている
EDITORIAL: Japanese society needs serious self-reflection over ‘hate speech’

The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that a right-wing group that repeatedly blared discriminatory “hate speech” to harass a school for ethnic Koreans in Kyoto was guilty of “racial discrimination.”

The Osaka High Court’s ruling was confirmed by the top court’s decision on Dec. 9 to reject an appeal filed by Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (Group of citizens who do not tolerate privileges for ethnic Korean residents in Japan), known more commonly as Zaitokukai. The group now has the legal obligation to pay more than 12 million yen in compensation to the school.

The Supreme Court dismissed Zaitokukai’s claim that its rally activities “fall within freedom of speech” and supported the Osaka High Court’s judgment that the group’s main intention was to appeal to the public a sense of discrimination against ethnic Koreans living in Japan.

The top court’s decision should be seen as a clear message that the Japanese judiciary shares the globally accepted values that reject any form of anti-foreignism.

Using handheld microphones and loudspeaker trucks near what was then the Kyoto Chosen Daiichi Elementary School, Zaitokukai hurled ugly racist abuse at the school, such as “Go home to the Korean Peninsula.” The school later merged with another to create the Kyoto Chosen Elementary School.

Children at the school felt such profound horror and suffered such huge psychological damage that the group’s racist slander could even be described as violence.

The Japanese courts held Zaitokukai legally liable to pay compensation to the Korean school because of its specific act--discriminatory speeches against the institution. They ordered an unusually high compensation amount for a defamation lawsuit in line with the standards set by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Japan is a signatory.

The courts didn’t make any judgment about hate speech in general.

Still, it is significant that the Supreme Court has established a judicial precedent by ordering the group to pay a large amount of compensation for shouting racist abuse.

The ruling must be encouraging for hate speech victims who have been too intimidated to protest the one-sided verbal attacks they have faced.

Groups committing hate speech should take the top court ruling seriously and completely stop all their demonstrations involving violations of human rights.

Japan has no law that bans hate speech per se. But some countries, including Germany and France, have legislation that restricts hate speech and remarks that encourage discrimination.

Some Japanese lawmakers are trying to take the initiative to establish such a law.

Nobody would dispute the importance of efforts to build a society that doesn’t tolerate discrimination. But the proposal to impose legal restrictions on discriminatory language should be considered from the viewpoint of freedom of speech as well.

Many related issues need to be sorted out, such as where the line should be drawn.

What is troubling is the fact that this nation seemingly has no solid social consensus on rejecting hate speech.

More than 360 demonstrations and street rallies involving hate speech were held in Japan last year, according to a survey by a citizens group. The trend is spreading to rural areas.

Many Japanese websites are awash with words expressing raw hatred toward foreigners.

Would we be mistaken to think that hate speech hasn’t disappeared from this nation because the trend reflects discriminatory sentiments lurking in the collective mind of Japanese society?

The situation requires us to ask ourselves some serious questions.


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« 雇用問題 非正規の処遇改善に具体策を | トップページ | สสวท math ป.6 15 Oct 2014 »