Addressing hate and racism issues in Japan
Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation
The administration of Shinzo Abe is coming under mounting pressure to address the rise in hate speech directed against Japan’s ethnic Korean community and other minorities.
Last week, a UN panel called on Japan to "firmly address manifestations of hate and racism as well as incitement to racial violence and hatred during public rallies".
Japan currently has no laws banning defamatory speech of the kind that have been introduced in some other countries. Opponents of legislation say banning hate speech could end up impinging on people's right to freedom of expression.
The issue is now being debated at senior levels of the governing Liberal Democratic Party amid a rise in street demonstrations organised by groups that target ethnic Koreans and other minorities they regard as "anti-Japanese".
In what could become a test case for Japan's legal response to hate speech,Lee Sinhae, an ethnic Korean freelance writer, decided to take action after Makoto Sakurai, the chairman of the far-right group Zaitokukai, called her a "Korean hag" and a "lawless Korean" in online postings. She is seeking 5.5 million yen in damages from Sakurai.
Lee says the comments constituted racial discrimination that insulted and defamed her. She is also seeking 22 million yen in damages from the operator of the conservative online bulletin board where the remarks appeared.
Lee, who says she is frequently the target of abuse on Twitter and other social media, will appear at the FCCJ with her lawyer, Hiroko Koutaki, on Friday 5 September to discuss her case and the issue of hate speech in Japan.
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Professional Activities Committee
Lee Sinhae Hiroko Koutaki