Japan has passed a new bill to introduce tougher sentencing laws for online harassment and insults, a major step forward in tackling cyberbullying in the country. Updating the original laws on insults, which were drafted in 1907 and therefore could not take modern technology into consideration, is considered long overdue. The announcement was made on Tuesday by Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa.
"Online insults provoke similar posts one after another, which can lead to irreversible human rights violations. As we see growing criticism against online abuse, we need to designate the act as a crime to be seriously dealt with and curb it."
The bill gained momentum following the death of Hana Kimura, a 22 year-old female wrestler and cast member of the Netflix "Terrace House" reality show, who was believed to have committed suicide following an intense campaign of abuse via social media. 2 men were charged 9,000 yen for their part in the proceedings, but public opinion was that this was too lenient.
The proposed changes will increase incarceration to a period of 12 months and a fine of 300,000 yen, from the current 30 days and 10,000 yen.
Original story on Kyodo News.