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Japan Passes Cyberbullying Law Inspired By Hana Kimura’s Death

June 14, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Hana Kimura Image Credit: STARDOM

Japan has passed a new cyberbullying law sparked by the response to Hana Kimura’s passing in 2020. CNN reports that Japan’s parliament passed a law on Monday that makes “online insults” punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine of up to 300,000 yen (about $2,200).

The legislation came into being after Kimura died by suicide in May of 2020. Kimura’s death, which came after she suffered abuse online over how she was depicted in Terrace House on Netflix, led to a call for stronger laws against online buillying.

The new bill is controversial due tot he fact that opponents believe it could impinge upon free speech. The law targets insults, which are defined by Japanese law as “publicly demeaning someone’s social standing without referring to specific facts about them or a specific action.” THis is different from defamation, which is also punishable under the law and is defined as “publicly demeaning someone while pointing to specific facts.”

The new law will take place this summer and has a clause requiring that it be re-examined in three years in order to gauge how it impacts freedom of expression.

Japan-based criminal lawyer Seiho Cho told the outet, “There needs to be a guideline that makes a distinction on what qualifies as an insult. For example, at the moment, even if someone calls the leader of Japan an idiot, then maybe under the revised law that could be classed as an insult.”

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Hana Kimura, Jeremy Thomas