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2014 July 9 - 15 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

High court finds hate speech demonstrations illegal

July 9, 2014
The Osaka High Court on July 8 upheld a lower court decision which ordered an anti-Korean group to pay damages to a Korean school operator for staging discriminatory demonstrations near the school.

This is the first time that Japan’s high court made a ruling on hate speech issues.

Between December 2009 and March 2010, members of Zaitokukai, a group advocating the expulsion of Koreans from Japan, staged hate speech demonstrations near a Korean elementary school in Kyoto City. Using loudspeakers, they shouted hate messages directed at the school building, “You are children of North Korean agents!” and “Go back to the Korean Peninsula!”

The school administrator, Kyoto Chosen Gakuen, filed a lawsuit with the Kyoto District Court, seeking a ban on the racist group’s demonstrations as well as compensation from the group for obstructing classes and frightening the children.

In October 2013, the district court ruled that Zaitokukai’s actions are illegal, stating that their acts violate the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which the Japanese government ratified in 1995. The court ordered the defendants to pay more than 12 million yen in damages and not to hold street actions within a 200-meter radius of the school. The accused appealed the judgment.

The high court rejected their appeal. In the ruling, presiding judge Mori Hiroshi criticized the nationalist group for posting video footage of its demonstrations on the Internet, saying, “It is a heinous act encouraging racial discrimination and social prejudice.”

Past related article:
> Court recognizes hate speech as racism [October 8, 2013]
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