Japan's Tougher Penalties against Defamation Go into Effect

Politics

Tokyo, July 7 (Jiji Press)--Japan's revised Penal Code aimed at toughening penalties for defamation was put into effect on Thursday, as part of the country's moves to tackle online abuse.

The bill to amend the law, which was compiled following the death of a professional wrestler who took her own life at the age of 22 in 2020 after being bullied online, was enacted on June 13.

Before the amendment, the punishment for defamation was the lightest under the Penal Code, with a statutory penalty of less than 30 days of detention or a fine of less than 10,000 yen.

Under the revised law, a prison term of up to a year or a fine of up to 300,000 yen is added as a statutory penalty for the crime of defamation.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa said that the amendment was made to "show a legal evaluation that (defamation) is a crime that should be dealt with in a strict manner, in order to deter (such acts)."

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Jiji Press