Japan social media bullies again: Law changes ‘too much’
A law passed last year allowing social media users to use their social media accounts to report abusive or threatening posts will be reviewed again, with the goal of preventing a repeat of last year’s social media bullying campaign.
The social media legislation, known as the “Japan Social Media Act”, was passed by the Diet in November 2016 but the Law Commission, which reviews laws, had not considered the impact of it in its review of it.
The Law Commission has been considering whether the law should be reviewed and amended to include social media use, following a recent spate of violent cyberbullying incidents in Japan.
“It’s too much.
We need to look at this again,” Justice Minister Yukio Edano told reporters on Tuesday.
“We’ve already taken the right steps.”
Edano, a former Liberal Party lawmaker who is also the president of the Law and Justice Party, has said the law will not affect social media usage but has acknowledged that there are issues with the way it is currently enforced.
“But in the future, we should not see this as an issue,” he said.
“The main point is to avoid any future incidents.”
The law also gives people the right to lodge complaints against the abuse they received.
“There are many ways of getting help,” he told reporters.
“If you get a complaint, you can lodge it with the police.”
The Law and Law Party, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was the first to introduce a law to address cyberbullies in 2015, and has since pushed through similar laws in other parts of Japan, including the mainland, for the purpose of protecting its citizens from cyberbullied and hateful comments.
“Cyberbullying is a serious problem in Japan,” Edano said, but added that it was important to “protect Japaners and Japanese.”
“I’m confident that the Law Reform Commission will soon be able to consider the law and will provide the right solutions to protect our citizens from bullying.”
Law Commission chairman Takahiro Yamaguchi said the Law Law and Crime Commission would review the law to see if the new regulations were sufficient.
“While it is true that it has been too long since the last review of the law, the Law & Crime Commission is confident that we have taken the correct steps to protect Japaners,” he wrote on his official website.
“Actions to protect society must include making social media platforms and social media applications more user-friendly.”
Edana, who chairs the Law Policy Council, said it was critical to ensure social media had a positive impact on the Japanese people.
“Social media should be a tool that helps us connect with each other, not a tool for spreading harmful information,” he added.
“I hope that this law will make it easier for Japanese people to find each other and share their thoughts and feelings.”
The New York-based Cyberbullying Awareness Network said it would be happy to work with the Law Review Commission to improve the law.
“Law review commissions often have an opportunity to improve their recommendations to the Government,” said chief executive, Mark Zuckerman, who said he was not concerned about the review process.
“Our hope is that this will be a swift and transparent process that will help all of us make the best use of our social media tools.”
Cyberbullies have increased in recent years following a series of social media incidents in Tokyo, including a series on Tuesday that saw an 18-year-old man, who went by the handle @mattb, posted an image of himself posing with a sword and wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.
“That was a huge spike,” said Dr Peter Coyle, chief executive of the online harassment group SpeakUp.
They can be bullying.””
People can be quite extreme and they can be threatening.
They can be bullying.”