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Japan approves tougher penalties for libel offenses

Tokyo, Jun 13 (Prensa Latina) The House of Councilors of the Japanese Diet (Parliament) approved an amendment to the current Penal Code on Monday that provides for tougher penalties for libel offenses in social media and other public spaces.

The legal text introduces sentences of up to one year of imprisonment without work, as well as fines of 300,000 yen (almost 2,230 dollars), and extends the statute of limitations for criminal action from one to three years.

During the current parliamentary session, lawmakers included an extra provision to prevent the new punitive measures from restricting the freedom of speech enshrined in the Constitution.

The nationwide debate on the dangers of cyberbullying and the need to curb it with severe punishments gained importance in 2020 in the wake of the suicide of Hana Kimura, a 22-year-old professional wrestler who faced a massive hate campaign on her digital platforms.

The reform voted by a majority within the Upper House also includes the incarceration without work, under which inmates could receive educational and counseling programs aimed at preventing recidivism.


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