Friday, January 24, 2020

Free speech dying in Japan?

Free speech dying in Japan?

Mr. Shigeyuki Ikea was recently fined 300,000 yen ($2,700.00) for violating a new Kawasaki City, Japan ordinance.  It was for a Tweet directed at Choi Kang I Ja.   

He wrote:

"the craftiness of showing off their ethnicity pisses me off," and "I won't tolerate Koreans living carefree in Japan behind the shield of discrimination. I don't recognize any of their rights."

His offense was posting online “hate speech.” 

The new ordinance, to enter into force on July 1, 2020 reads in part:

“…bans discriminatory language and actions against those from countries or regions other than Japan in public spaces. It makes repeat violations punishable by a fine of up to 500,000 yen.”

In other words his free speech was trampled on in the name of “hate speech.”  Those who enjoy free speech understand with at times one will be offended.  As terrible as hate speech is, it is or was protected by adherence to free speech. 

The worst part is the ordinance does not cover hate speech aim at Japanese citizens, it only protects those who are not Japanese.  How is that all are equal under the law?

Free speech in codified in the Japanese Constitution: 

Chapter III, Article 21. Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed. No censorship shall be maintained, nor shall the secrecy of any means of communication be violated.

The Construction also states all are equal under the law.

Chapter III, Article 14 of the Japanese Constitution reads:

“All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.
Peers and peerage shall not be recognized. No privilege shall accompany any award of honor, decoration or any distinction, nor shall any such award be valid beyond the lifetime of the individual who now holds or hereafter may receive it.”

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Link to the Constitution of Japan:

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