Japan to start jailing for a year for online insults

For publishing “online insults” in Japan, you can go to jail and get up to 1 year. In just a few days, a new law will come into force in the country.

People convicted of online abuse can also be fined up to 300,000 yen (about $2,200). Previously, the punishment was less than 30 days in jail and a fine of up to 10,000 yen ($75).

The law will be reviewed in three years so that experts can determine whether it affects freedom of expression – this is required by critics of the bill. And supporters say that the law should have an impact on reducing the level of cyber threats and cyber harassment.

However, the problem is that there are no clear definitions of what is considered an insult. This was told by criminal lawyer Seiho Cho in a commentary to CNN. The law states that humiliation of someone without giving specific facts should be considered insults, in contrast to slander, which is classified as humiliation of someone based on specific facts about a person.

“At the moment, even if someone calls the leader of Japan an idiot, then perhaps, according to the law, this can be qualified as an insult,” Cho said.

Japanese officials launched a crackdown on cyberbullying following the suicide of reality TV star Hana Kimura, who had been abused online. Her mother pushed for a tougher policy against cyberbullying after her death. Some studies show a link between suicidal behavior and cyberbullying, although most studies have been done with children and adolescents.

“The UK also has laws that criminalize ‘deeply offensive’ public posts and people are arrested and fined for tweets. But the British don’t have clear definitions either, so the courts decide what counts as ‘deeply’ offensive on a case-by-case basis,” writes the media.


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