Cyberbullying now punishable by one year in prison in Japan

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Cyberbullying now punishable by one year in prison in Japan

The Penal Code has been revised after a campaign by the mother of Hana Kimura, a wrestler victim of cyberbullying.

Kyoko Kimura wears a sweater with a picture of her daughter, Hana Kimura, who killed herself after have been the victim of cyberbullying.

People found guilty of cyberbullying in Japan now face a prison sentence of up to one year. New rules came into effect Thursday, tightened after the suicide of a reality TV star who had been harassed online.

Pro star wrestler Hana Kimura, who had participated in the cult reality show Terrace House, broadcast in particular on Netflix, had committed suicide in 2020, at the age of 22, after receiving on the networks social comments like: Hey, hey. When are you going to die?

The Penal Code revision, which was carried out following a campaign led by Hana Kimura's mother, now provides for fines of up to 300,000 yen (approximately C$2,800) and penalties of up to one year in prison – compared to 10,000 yen (95 Canadian dollars) and 30 days in prison until then.

Minister of Justice Yoshihisa Furukawa said that these reinforced penalties were intended to make it clear that cyberbullying was a criminal offence.

It is important that we work to eradicate malicious insults which can sometimes result in the death of the people who are targeted, he said at a press conference this week.

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If the problems of cyberbullying were already part of the public debate in Japan before the death of Hana Kimura, the suicide of the young woman caused turmoil both in the country and abroad. This has increased the pressure on elected officials to toughen up the law.

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  • Telephone: 1 866 APPELLE (277-3553)

  • Text: 1 855 957-5353

  • Chat, information and tools: www.suicide .ca

Finally, Hana Kimura's mother, Kyoko Kimura, welcomed reporters when the revision was passed in parliament last month.

Aux At least two men who sent hate messages to Hana Kimura have been punished so far, one of whom, who had welcomed the death of the young woman, was sentenced to death. last year to a fine of 1.29 million yen (C$12,000).

The show Terrace House was canceled after the Hana Kimura's suicide, but her mother felt that those responsible for the program bore the greatest responsibility. She plans to sue them.

However, some free speech advocates and legal scholars disagree with the stiffer penalties and have called the government to ensure that they would not be used to restrict freedom of expression and political criticism.

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