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Thursday Jul 07 2022
By
Web Desk

Online insults made punishable by jail time in Japan

By
Web Desk
Online insults made punishable by jail time in Japan

  • Bill that introduces penalties for online insults comes into effect in Japan.
  • Move comes after wrestler died by suicide after receiving online hate.
  • Justice Minister stresses that legal move would not restrict freedom of expression.


In an attempt to deal with cyberbullying, a bill that introduced jail time up to a year and tough penalties for online insults in Japan has come into effect, reported The Japan Times.

The revised Penal Code raised the fine for cyber insults to up to $2,200 (¥300,000).

The statute of limitations for these insults has also been extended to three years.

The bill was passed on June 13 at an upper house plenary session in Japan, South China Morning Post reported. 

The move came after a 22-year-old professional wrestler and cast member on the famous Netflix show “Terrace House", Hana Kimura, died by suicide in May 2020, after she received extreme hate on social media.

There have been debates and discussions in the parliament about the methods of regulating freedom of expression which is guaranteed by the Constitution of Japan.

The primary opposition political party had commented against the bill saying that it could lead to a lack of "legitimate criticism of politicians and public officials."

In Japan, insults and defamation are considered two different things but both are punishable by law. 

While two men were fined 9,000 yen each for insulting Kimura before her death, some were of the opinion that the penalties were not tough enough. 

After Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa recommended last October that the penalties should be tougher, he said in a conference on Tuesday that "cyberbullying is a crime that should be severely dealt with."

He also clarified that the legal move would not restrict freedom of expression.