Japan’s parliament has passed a law that would punish for “online insults” with a year in prison or a fine. That’s how the state reacted to the suicide of a local TV star who faced bullying on social networks, informs CNN.
According to the amendments to the Criminal Code, the violators should be imprisoned or fined ¥300,000 (approximately $2,200). Cyberbullying used to be punishable in Japan, but convicts were held in custody for up to 30 days and fined less than $75.
The bill has already been criticized for obstructing freedom of speech. Japanese lawyer Seiho Cho also says there is no classification of “internet insult” in the law.
“It is necessary to clearly define what will be distinguished and qualified as an insult. For example, if someone now calls the leader of Japan an idiot, according to the updated code, it can be considered an insult,” he warns.
The law has been passed due to increased attention to cyberbullying over the past few years. The death of TV star and professional wrestler Hana Kimura attracted attention. 22-year-old Kimura was known for her role in the Netflix TV show Terrace House.
In 2020, the girl committed suicide due to numerous insults she received on social media in the months before her death. After the star’s death, her mother began advocating for anti-cyberbullying laws, and high-ranking Japanese officials have drawn attention to the problem.