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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 December 11 - 17  > Ordinance penalizing hate speech enacted in Kawasaki City
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2019 December 11 - 17 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Ordinance penalizing hate speech enacted in Kawasaki City

December 13, 2019

The Kawasaki City Assembly on December 12 unanimously passed and enacted an ordinance bill to ban hate speech and impose penalties on violations. This is the first city ordinance of this kind in Japan. The new ordinance will be fully implemented in July 2020.

The ordinance for “the human-rights-friendly community development without discrimination” consists of two parts: the first part prohibits all forms of discrimination, including that based on national origin, race, sex, sexual orientation, or disability; and the second part bans discriminatory speech and behavior, so-called “hate speech”, against people with foreign backgrounds and against their offspring and allows necessary measures to be taken against offenders.

Under the ordinance, regarding those who violate the ban on hate speech, the city authorities will give them an order to stop such acts and impose a fine of up-to 500,000 yen on those who refuse to follow the order.

In discussions prior to the vote at the city assembly meeting on December 12, Japanese Communist Party assemblyperson Watanabe Manabu expressed his support for the ordinance bill by saying that efforts made by hate speech-targeted individuals and a wide range of citizens contributed to the introduction of the bill.

Furthermore, Watanabe cited that in the assembly committee deliberation, the JCP proposed to define specific activities to be punished in line with the constitutional principles in order to prevent the abuse of the anti-hate speech ordinance. He said that the newly enacted ordinance reflected the JCP proposal.

Following the passage of the ordinance bill, a third-generation Korean woman, who is also a member of a civil group fighting against hate speech in the city, said, “For all of us, including the city government and city assembly, the ordinance is the first step to creating a discrimination-free society.”

Past related articles:
> Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly passes ordinance to ban discrimination against LGBTQ [October 6, 2018]
> Osaka City assembly adopts ordinance bill to regulate hate speech [January 16, 2016]
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