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Ordinance on hate speech welcome but needs monitoring

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The Kawasaki municipal assembly has unanimously adopted an unprecedented ordinance to crack down on hate speech. Under the ordinance, criminal penalties can be imposed for forms of expressions that denigrate or incite hatred and discrimination against specific individuals or groups based on race, religion, sex or other attributes.

The number of rallies and demonstrations that attack specific groups with extremely hateful language has declined since a law was enforced in 2016 to ban hate speech.

But hate speech has survived the law in more cunning and underhanded forms.

Some observers have warned about a backlash against the crackdown, pointing out the limits of the law, such as its lack of penalties for violations.

It is significant that Kawasaki city, where many ethnic Koreans live and whose efforts to tackle the problem prompted the Diet to enact the law three years ago, has taken a further step toward rooting out hate speech.

Under the new ordinance, criminal punishments can be imposed for........

© The Asahi Shimbun