The Japanese Diet is presently working on legislation to outlaw “hate speech,” which is defined as the use of hateful expressions or speech designed to incite discrimination. In 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination both issued a recommendation to Japan to make hate speech and other discriminatory practices illegal. This has increased the demands from both inside and outside Japan to expedite efforts to pass such legislation, which would be in line with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and on par with legislation on the status of foreign residents of Japan. Representative of this effort is the International Conference held in the fall of 2015 by The Korean Christian Church in Japan.
The Kyodan relocated its headquarters to a temporary site from June 2014 until March 2016 while the Japan Christian Center in Nishi Waseda was being retrofitted for earthquake safety, and the location of those temporary offices was in a building in Okubo Dori 1-Chome in Shinjuku, exactly where the largest demonstrations concerning hate speech have taken place. It was also right at this time that the district court in Kyoto issued a ruling against a group that calls itself “The Citizen’s Group to Deny Special Privileges to Koreans in Japan,” which had held an inflammatory demonstration in front of the Kyoto Korean Elementary School in 2010. The final verdict against this group took place in October 2014, when they were ordered to pay compensation of 12,260,000 yen (about $110,000). Thus, fortunately, we did not have to witness such hate speech ourselves. The part of Tokyo where we were temporarily located had been referred to as “Korea Town,” since so many Korean restaurants and other businesses are there. However, it has now become very multicultural, with some 30 languages being used by people in the area.
Our country has been calling for internationalization, so we need to ensure that our actions match our words by quickly passing this legislation. It will be a disgrace if we do not. (Tr. TB)
—Nagasaki Tetsuo, general secretary