Kawasaki, Kanagawa Pref., June 24 (Jiji Press) — The city of Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, said Monday it will introduce an ordinance aimed at imposing a fine of up to 500,000 yen on those who engage in hate speech.
The city government plans to submit the ordinance against discrimination to the municipal assembly later this year. It plans to put the regulation into force in July next year.
If enacted, the ordinance would be the first hate speech regulation in the country to include punitive measures.
A draft ordinance unveiled Monday seeks to ban discriminatory behavior such as using megaphones in city parks and stations to call on people from specific countries and regions to leave Japan, or to threaten to cause harm to such people.
Those who violate the ordinance three times despite being warned by the city will face criminal accusations and be fined.
The city previously took a cautious approach toward enacting fines out of fears about possible infringement on people’s constitutionally protected right to free speech. However, it determined that fines are necessary to ensure the ordinance carries weight.