Japan to punish “internet insults” with a year in prison


The Japanese Parliament passed a law according to which “internet insults” will be punished by a year in prison or a hefty fine. This is how the state reacted to the suicide of a local TV star who met with bullying on social networks, CNN reports.

Following the new amendments to the Criminal Code, violators should be imprisoned or forced to pay a fine of ¥300,000 (about $2,200). Previously, cyberbullying was also punishable in Japan, but convicts were held in custody for up to 30 days, and the amount of the fine was less than $75.

The bill is already being criticized for its potential to hinder freedom of speech. Japanese lawyer Seiho Cho says that the Criminal Code does not have a clear classification of Internet insults. “We need to clearly define what will distinguish what qualifies as bullying. For example, if someone now calls the leader of Japan an idiot, according to the updated code, this can be considered an insult, ”he warns.

The law was passed due to increased attention to cyberbullying over the past few years. The death of 22-year-old television star and professional wrestler Hana Kimura has drawn attention to the issue.

In 2020, the girl committed suicide due to the numerous insults that she received on social networks for several months. After the death of the star, her mother began to advocate for the adoption of laws against cyberbullying, and high-ranking Japanese officials drew attention to this problem.