Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa announces in Tokyo, on Sept. 14, 2021, that she will consult with the Legislative Council on revising the legal penalty for the crime of insult. (Mainichi/Masakatsu Yamamoto)
TOKYO — As part of stronger potential measures against online defamation, Japan’s Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa announced Sept. 14 she will consult with an advisory body over whether to amend the Penal Code to make punishment for the crime of insult more severe.
The penalty for insult is stipulated as “detention (for less than 30 days), or a fine (of less than 10,000 yen (about $90)),” which is the lightest penalty in the Penal Code, but the amendment will introduce a new penalty of imprisonment with or without labor.
The crime of insult is applied when a person insults someone in a manner knowable to an unspecified number of people. According to the Ministry of Justice, it will consult on a proposal to add “imprisonment with or without work for up to one year” and “a fine up to 300,000 yen (about $2,726)” to the crime of insult at a general meeting of the Legislative Council on Sept. 16. If the statutory penalties are raised, the statute of limitations will be extended from one year to three years.
As for the issue of online defamation, Hana Kimura, then 22, a professional wrestler who appeared on the popular Fuji Television Network Inc. reality show “Terrace House,” died suddenly in May 2020 after being…