Japan Passes new Law that makes Online Insults Punishable by Fines and a Minimum 1-Year in Prison
Make Insults Online and face the Consequences
Up to one year in prison will be the new punishment for individuals posting online insults in Japan, according to new laws passed earlier in June. Those found guilty of online insults can be fined up to $2,200 which has changed from the previous fine of $75 and a minimum of 30-days in prison.
In another three years, Japan has stated they will reexamine the law to conclude if it affects freedom of expression. Many in favor of the bill said it is key in reducing cyberbullying in the United States and Japan however those against the bill stated it goes against freedom of speech. The issue many have with the law is that Japanese officials have given NO criteria as to what is an insult, according to Seiho Cho, a Japanese Criminal lawyer.
“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.”
Seiho Cho said.
The push to alleviate cyberbullying comes after the suicide of reality TV star Hana Kimura, who had been a victim of cyberbullying. After this specific case, more people advocated for a more intense anti-cyberbullying policy.
Laws in the U.K. also criminalize public comments that are deemed “grossly offensive.” Individuals have been jailed and even fined for tweets that fall into the criteria.