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Cyberbullying: Japan will punish with jail and fines insults on the internet

Wrestler Hana Kimura has passed away at the age of 22.  (@we_are_stardom)

Japan chose modify the criminal code in relation to cyberbullying from the death of Hana Kimura, the Japanese fighter who decided to take her own life in 2020 due to cyber bullying and now It will punish with fines and even jail those who insult on the internet.

The Japanese parliament approved an increase in penalties against insults on the internet, modifying the sentence that was around 30 days in prison and a fine of up to 10 thousand yen, for a new rate of up to one year of arrest or a fine of 300 thousand yen; equivalent to 2,200 dollars.

This bill, say opponents, could mean a limitation to freedom of expression.

For their part, the legislators argued that a stricter regulations against cyber bullying.

Japan cracks down on online bullying

According to the Japanese penal code, insulting is defined as “publicly demean someone’s social position without referring to specific facts about them or a specific action,” according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice quoted by CNN.

However, there is a terminological gap due to the ambiguity of the definition of insultas well as defamation.

According to the media, the National Police Agency received a total of 353 complaints of cyberbullying in 2021; 40 more than a year before. At least 315 of the total were defamation cases, while the rest were insults. Likewise, they indicated that in that year 387 complaints of intimidation and 325 cases of violating the law against physical harassment were intervened.

On the other hand, there are more than 12 thousand cases reported for cybercrime in 2021, among which are bank fraud crimes and theft of personal data.

Hana Kimura: The Test Case

Wrestler Hana Kimura has passed away at the age of 22. (@we_are_stardom)

After her participation in the fifth season of the reality show “Terrace House”, the 22-year-old Japanese fighter suffered a long depressive episode for the comments and insults he received through social networks. What triggered the cyberbullying against her was the broadcast of an argument she had with another reality show participant.

The company Stardom, producer of the show, confirmed her death in May 2020 through Twitter: “We regret to report the death of Hana Kimura. We ask for respect and time so that those closest to her can process what happened, as well as her prayers for it ”.

Cyberbullying in Argentina

The case of Hana Kimura has a rebound in our region. According to a recent report UNESCO International Center for the Promotion of Human Rights, Argentina leads with Mexico the ranking of countries with the highest number of child cyberbullying crimes in Latin America. This violent practice includes bullying, grooming and school mistreatment through the internet.

Honduras follows in third place on the list, followed by Costa Rica and Chile. For its part, Brazil occupies the sixth position, while Peru and Uruguay occupy the following rungs.

The most used applications to perpetrate harassment are WhatsApp, at 74%, while Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Zoom and Telegram share the rest.


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