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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 September 9 - 15  > Appeals court unjustly defends racist hate speech as ‘public nature’
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2020 September 9 - 15 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Appeals court unjustly defends racist hate speech as ‘public nature’

September 15, 2020
The Osaka High Court on September 14 issued a ruling upholding a lower court decision which failed to censure hate speech demonstrations against ethnic Koreans in Japan. The high court, however, dismissed a defendant’s appeal against the lower court’s imposition of a monetary penalty.

The defendant, Nishimura Hitoshi, is a former executive member of a right-wing group, “Zaitokukai”, notorious for hate speech demonstrations.

Nishimura in April 2017 at a park in the vicinity of a school for Korean nationals in Kyoto, Kyoto Chosen Gakuen, used a loudspeaker and shouted hate messages directed at the school building, such as, “Chosen Gakuen kidnapped Japanese nationals” and “Call the police, if you see a person supposedly related to Chosen Gakuen.” He videotaped his actions and released them on the Internet.

Nishimura was sued for defamation by a Chosen Gakuen administrator. In the lawsuit, however, the courts in the first trial and the second trial recognized that the defendant’s speech “has a ‘public nature’” as it “aims to make public facts regarding the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea”.

A group of lawyers, which works to support the Korean school administrator, in court claimed that the defendant’s acts had a racist motive and thus should not be recognized as having public aspects.

After the high court ruling, the plaintiff’s legal team held a press conference in Osaka City and severely criticized the appellate court ruling as being unjust. They expressed their determination to work hard to reform Japan’s criminal justice system so that hate speech demonstrations will be punished.

Past related article:
> Korean school operator protests against court ruling neglecting hate speech demonstrations [ November 30&December 1]
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