Editorial: Revised crime victim law to cover Net slander

April 6 , 2021

A basic law on crime victim support went into effect on April 1 and will launch a series of programs over the next five years. The law is an extension of an earlier law that Komeito was instrumental in passing in 2005.

Among the new initiatives are mental and physical therapy and financial assistance for victims of a crime, lessening the challenges and frustrations involved in filing criminal proceedings against a perpetrator, and developing an effective victim support infrastructure. Under the previous law, victims were provided with a government stipend and allowed to take part in criminal trials.

While these and related steps have proven helpful, criminal activity continues to evolve. One of the major issues today is wanton and baseless slander directed to a poster on social media, acts known as “flaming” and “trolling.” Such behaviors have already exacted a severe psychological and emotional toll on victimized posters, some of them who have taken their own lives as a result.

The latest law has provisions to deal with such acts, including mandating operators of social media platforms to warn off and ban odious posters.

Additionally, the law enhances and expands support for victims of sexual violence and child abuse. Komeito served as a driving force to have those provisions in place as well.