Lawmakers introduced stiff prison sentences and higher fines for online insults.
A law has come into force in Japan imposing strict penalties on online abusers, threatening offenders with one-year prison terms and larger fines. The rules were tightened years after the suicide of a popular TV star who faced online harassment before her death, fueling calls for reform. The legislation went into effect across Japan on Thursday, and violators now face fines of up to $2,200 and a year behind bars, significantly stricter than the previous maximum of $75 and up to 30 days in jail. The law, passed in mid-June after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party reached an agreement with opposition lawmakers, will be reviewed within three years to determine whether it unduly restricts free speech. If this happens, the law will be amended. The toughening of penalties for “online abuse” comes more than two years after the suicide of 22-year-old reality TV star and professional pancrat Hana Kimura, who took her own life in May 2020 after being cyberbullied for appearing on the Netflix show “Terrace House.” While the case drew international attention to the problems of cyberbullying in Japan, the two men found guilty of targeting Kimura online were only sentenced to minor fines. After Kimura’s death, Japan’s Justice Ministry’s Legislative Council recommended tougher penalties to Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa, who told reporters earlier this week that the new framework reflects the “legal assessment that cyberbullying is a crime that must be dealt with strictly to act as a deterrent.” “. The minister also argued against critics who described the law as draconian that the rules do not represent “an unjustified restriction of the freedom of expression”. Hardware, software, tests, interesting and colorful news from the IT world by clicking here!