Japan gov't seek measures to combat cyber-bullying, eyes new legislation

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-04 23:08:22|Editor: huaxia

TOKYO, June 4 (Xinhua) -- A panel comprised of the Japanese government's communications ministry on Thursday agreed that victims of cyber-bullying should have certain rights when it comes to internet-related companies disclosing personal information about digital bullies.

Such rights, the panel agreed, while noting issues of freedom of expression, include the victims being able to request that website operators, social media operators and internet service providers, in cases of cyber-bullying, disclose the names and phone numbers of those posting defamatory remarks.

The panel also said that more dialogue on the matter was needed to traverse the easing of procedural measures needed for internet-related firms to release users' personal information so that people anonymously posting defamatory remarks online can be identified.

The government's recent push to clamp down on cyber-bullying has been punctuated by the recent death of Hana Kimura, a 22-year-old cast member of the reality TV show "Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020," in a suspected suicide believed to have links with cyber-bullying that rocked the nation.

Kimura, who joined the show broadcast by Fuji TV and carried by U.S. streaming service Netflix, in September last year, began receiving hundreds of hateful messages daily on social media, following an episode in late March in which she got angry with a fellow cast member.

"I have received nearly 100 honest opinions every day and I cannot deny that I got hurt," Kimura wrote on Twitter on May 23, the day of her death.

She also wrote on Twitter the same day, "Thank you for giving birth to me, Mom. I wanted to be loved in life."

Just prior to her death, Kimura also posted a picture of herself and a cat on Instagram with the message "I love you, please live a long and joyful life. I'm sorry."

Prior to Kimura's online victimization, the ministry set up the panel to provisionally discuss ways the current law might be changed, to simplify the process of numerous court proceedings victims of cyber-bullying must go through before the perpetrators can be identified.

More than 5,000 complaints about online abuse were received by the ministry in fiscal 2019, including those related to defamation, which is around four times higher than the figure for fiscal 2010.

Owing to the surge in complaints and the growing prevalence of digital media, the ministry said that by the end of the year it will compile draft legislation to address the matter. Enditem