Star professional wrestler Hana Kimura, who had competed in the cult reality show Terrace Housebroadcast in particular on Netflix, committed suicide in 2020, at the age of 22, after receiving comments on social networks such as:
Eh eh. 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 (about C$2,800) and sentences of up to one year jail time – for 10,000 yen ($95 CAD) and 30 days in jail until then.
Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa said the increased penalties were intended to make it clear that cyberbullying was a criminal offence.
It is important that we strive to eradicate malicious insults which can sometimes lead to the death of the people who are targeted, he told a press conference this week.
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 has caused a stir both in the country and abroad. This increased the pressure on those elected to toughen up the legislation.
If you are thinking of suicide or if you are worried about someone close to you, workers are available to help you anywhere in Quebec 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Telephone: 1 866 CALL (277-3553)
Text: 1 855 957-5353
Chat, information and tools: www.suicide.ca
FinallyKyoko Kimura, the mother of Hana Kimura, welcomed reporters during the adoption of this revision in Parliament last month.
At least two men who have sent hate messages to Hana Kimura have been punished so far, one of whom, who welcomed the death of the young woman, was fined last year 1 .29 million yen (12,000 Canadian dollars).
The show Terrace House was deprogrammed after Hana Kimura’s suicide, but her mother felt that those responsible for the program carried
the heaviest responsibility. She plans to sue them.
However, some free speech advocates and legal scholars disagree with these stiffer penalties and have called on the government to ensure they are not used to restrict free speech and political criticism.