Victims embrace tougher law on online slander

Victims of online slander are hopeful that revisions to Japan's defamation law will deter people from posting offensive materials on the Internet.

The bills to toughen the law were approved in the Diet on Monday. The legal revisions include harsher punishments for those who post slander and abuse online.

At a news conference in Tokyo, Kimura Kyoko, the mother of late Japanese reality show star Kimura Hana, said the time has come for the revisions. She said she hopes people will become aware that slander is a crime.

Kyoko has been appealing for stricter punishments since her daughter Hana, a 22-year-old pro wrestler, committed suicide in 2020. She had been the target of malicious attacks on social media for her conduct on the reality show.

Her death raised awareness on cyber-bulling and triggered debate in Japan on how to deal with it.

Kyoko added she wants people to be sure they have not used offensive language when posting messages.

Matsunaga Takuya lost his wife and daughter in a traffic accident in 2019. He was subjected to online slander and abuse while engaged in activities to curb traffic accidents so that the death of his loved ones would not be in vain.

He said he was devastated by offending posts from people he has never met or known. He said strict implementation of the laws will raise public awareness and deter online slander.