July 17, 2014 11:30
Hate speech by various rightwing groups in Japan has come under scrutiny from the UN Human Rights Committee.
The committee met in Geneva on Tuesday and Wednesday to review the civil and political rights situation in Japan and check whether the Japanese government is doing enough to clamp down on hate speech.
Every five to six years, the committee reviews the ethical treatment of prisoners and the basic protection of religious, political and ideological freedoms in member nations. The last time Japan was reviewed was in 2008.
The committee consists of 18 legal experts and will come up with its final recommendation on July 24.
The focus of the review is hate speech, the issue of women who were forced into sexual slavery by Imperial Japan during World War II, and the country's capital punishment policies.
Japanese media expect the UN committee to recommend that Tokyo adopt legislation to address hate and racist speech.
The UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stipulates that "any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law."
On July 8, a landmark ruling by a high court in Osaka recognized the illegality of hate speech.
Hate speech in Japan has been proliferating since 2012, particularly directed against Koreans. So far Japanese law does not allow police to intervene in demonstrations as long as they are registered.
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