By Hiroshi Sasaki, Takayuki Kanamori, Chie Yamashita
In preparation for the Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, slated for this September and next year, respectively, the National Police Agency (NPA) set up an “Internet OSINT Center” inside its security bureau in April 2016 to automatically collect and analyze terrorism-related information posted online.
OSINT is an abbreviation of “open source intelligence.”
The Internet OSINT Center picks relevant information from keywords, such as organization names associated with terrorists, to gather information on potential terrorist threats. It monitors cyberattack information, such as documents released by terrorist groups claiming responsibility for crimes, terrorism infrastructure information, which includes websites that post downloadable data on the manufacture of guns via a 3D printer, as well as messages posted by Islamic extremists.
In Japan, domestic organizations are still disseminating xenophobic ideas and some extremist views via social media. In June 2016, the government adopted a law against hate speech. But as this does not set forth penalties, racist groups continue to post their views on social media and Twitter.
In April, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government enforced an ordinance on human rights to restrict hate speech. This allows the governor to disclose the names of organizations or individuals if third-party entities confirm that protests and online messages involve discriminatory words or actions. But some people express concern that the ordinance may constitute infringement of freedom of expression.
In January 2018, the Hokkaido Prefectural Police sent papers to prosecutors on a man in his 30s who allegedly disguised “Aleph” as a group not related to the successor group of the Aum Shinrikyo cult organization and solicited membership. The man was accused of violating the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions. Authorities found through confiscated documents that he was using social media to solicit membership.