LETTER FROM TOKYO
Japan will crack down on online harassment, threatening to send perpetrators behind bars. A working group from the Ministry of Justice made a proposal in this regard at the end of October. Currently, public insult, or bujoku, is punishable by thirty days of detention or a fine of 10,000 yen (76 euros). The new sentences would provide for up to one year in prison or a fine of 300,000 yen. The limitation period would be extended from one to three years.
The ministry has started a reflection on this subject after the suicide, in May 2020, of Hana Kimura, wrestler and television personality victim of cyberstalking during her stint on the reality show. Terrace House, broadcast on Netflix and the Fuji TV channel. This suicide had provoked strong reactions all over Japan. “We must all fight against the idea that you can say what you want to supposedly famous people”, reacted Emika Mizukoshi, another participant in Terrace House having also been the subject of derogatory comments. “If you are criticizing someone, you should express yourself using your real name. I think there should be serious penalties for such slander ”, tweeted former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
“I know that in real life there are a lot of people who support me. So I can understand that my online abusers are just exceptions. But if you can’t think in a positive way, like I did, you can easily believe that everyone hates you ”, had for his part declared on a daily basis Nihon Keizai Shimbun Toshiyuki Niino, actor who also participated in Terrace House.
“A hundred attacks every day”
Some time before ending her life, Hana Kimura wrote on her Instagram account that she was suffering “A hundred attacks every day”, adding that she suffered from it and that she no longer wanted to be ” a human “. In a final message, she shared a photo of herself and her cat with the message: “I love you, have a long and happy life. I’m sorry. “
The attacks on her were unleashed after an altercation with a male member of the show. “You have such an awful personality, is your life worth living?” “ and ” Eh eh. When are you going to die “, was able to launch one of the stalkers, later identified and fined 9,000 yen.
The attacks did not stop after his tragic death. An internet user was sentenced in May to 1.29 million yen for defamation. “Your death pleases everyone. Thank you “ and “I liked “Terrace House” but this program is canceled because of your suicide. Damn you “, he wrote on Twitter.
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In Japan, the suicide of wrestler Hana Kimura prompts justice to crack down on cyberbullying