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SOCIETY > Human Rights

17% of Japanese believe freedom of expression covers hate speech, Cabinet Office survey

  • December 3, 2017
  • , The Japan Times
  • English Press

Jiji – A new Cabinet Office survey has revealed that hate speech is viewed by some 17 percent of audiences in Japan as falling within the scope of freedom of expression.


The result, part of a public opinion survey on protecting human rights, prompted a Justice Ministry official in charge of the issue to urge bolstered efforts at informing the public about hate speech.


“We have to continue efforts to promote the perception that hate speech is impermissible,” the official said.


In the survey, a total of 3,000 people aged 18 or older were interviewed from Oct. 5 to 15. Of them, 58.6 percent gave valid responses.


The survey found that 57.4 percent of the total were aware of rallies and campaigns involving hate speech, and that 47.4 percent of their audiences thought they would worsen Japan’s image, and that 45.5 percent saw them as both annoying and unacceptable.


On the other side of the issue, 12.1 percent of those who had witnessed incidents of hate speech said they had nothing to do with them, while 17.0 percent said freedom of expression should be guaranteed for hate speakers, too.


Additionally, 10.6 percent suggested that problems regarding those targeted by hate speech made them legitimate marks.


The survey also found that 62.9 percent of the respondents cited the posting of defamatory information as the top instance of human rights abuse on the Internet — a ratio 5.2 points higher than in the previous poll five years ago.


Next in line were privacy violations, recognized by 53.4 percent, up 3.6 points, and the risk of crime via social networking services, which was recognized by 49.0 percent, up 6.1 points.

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