Police arrest YouTuber for defamation

A Japanese YouTuber has been arrested for defaming a teenager in an online video by falsely accusing her of ticket scalping.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Monday arrested Sugita Kazuaki, aged 40, a YouTuber who goes by the name "Rengoku Koroaki."

The video Sugita posted shows him falsely accusing an 18-year-old woman of ticket scalping near the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. He is seen accusing the teenager of reselling tickets for 80,000 yen and telling her to pay back the money.

The woman was actually there to meet a friend. Police say Sugita's accusation was false.

The woman told police that she was surrounded by five or six men when the video was shot. Police are further investigating the matter.

Tokyo's Imperial Theatre

Sugita had also posted videos of him accosting people he claimed had scalped tickets in the past. The content of the videos is now under investigation.

Limits to freedom of expression

Professor Higuchi Yoshiaki of Tokai University's Department of Media Studies says at first videos showing YouTubers berating people were considered to be merely annoying.

But people posting such videos began seeking more views by "campaigning for justice." They stepped up their aggression, calling for "confessions" and attempting to make "citizen's arrests."

Professor Higuchi Yoshiaki of Tokai University's Department of Media Studies

Higuchi says, "Even if the video subjects have committed acts that could be viewed as crimes, the YouTubers may have crossed a line by undermining their human rights."

He also says video-sharing sites have the merit of allowing free expression and they wield social influence. But he warns that "YouTubers need to question if what they're doing is really okay in light of public thinking."