Crime Victims’ Protection Under the Free Speech Law in Japan

Jianhong Liu,‎ Setsuo Miyazawa ed., Crime and Justice in Contemporary Japan, 2018, (Springer Series on Asian Criminology and Criminal Justice Research); ISBN 978-3-319-69359-0

Posted: 16 Jan 2018

See all articles by Yuichiro Tsuji

Yuichiro Tsuji

Meiji University School of Law; University of Tsukuba; Waseda University - School of Social Science

Date Written: June 10, 2018

Abstract

First, this paper argues that the amount of damage by defamation or privacy infringement in Japan is so small that the publisher might get an article published even in the face of potential litigation. In 1997, a 14-year-old junior high school student killed his friend, 11 years old. He cut his head and put it in the front gate of the junior high school. Before being arrested, he had sent several letters to newspapers to make his killing a display. He was convicted at the juvenile court. Article 61 of the Juvenile Act prohibits the minor defendant’s name from being published in a newspaper or magazine, but no civil or criminal sanction. There is also no sanction for publication of the victim’s name in the Juvenile Act. In Japan, the name of the victim is published, but not for minor defendants protected under the Juvenile Act. After getting out of the medical reformatory in 2007, he published his book in 2015 describing the history of this case and life after medical reform school. The father of the victim was strongly against the publication, but failed. There is no way to learn where the author lives now. There is no provision in the Juvenile Act that could transfer benefit of publication to the victim’s family. Some people argue that this provision doesn’t match well for Internet publication. New legislation might be needed for victims damaged by the publication of the book or article describing the crime.

Second, this paper reviews if recent cases are challenging the market of ideas. In another case in 2013, a 21-year-old truck driver killed his ex-girlfriend, 18 years old, after threatening the distribution of sexual pictures taken during the relationship. Just before being arrested, he uploaded her private pictures on websites. General free speech law remedy at court is damage, injunction, or publication of apology. In the Internet era, injunction might be more protective. Otherwise, another alternative doctrine might be needed.

Suggested Citation

Tsuji, Yuichiro, Crime Victims’ Protection Under the Free Speech Law in Japan (June 10, 2018). Jianhong Liu,‎ Setsuo Miyazawa ed., Crime and Justice in Contemporary Japan, 2018, (Springer Series on Asian Criminology and Criminal Justice Research); ISBN 978-3-319-69359-0, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2987683

Yuichiro Tsuji (Contact Author)

Meiji University School of Law ( email )

1-1 Kanda-Surugadai
Tokyo, 101-8301
Japan

HOME PAGE: http://https://researchmap.jp/tsuji?lang=en

University of Tsukuba ( email )

Tsukuba University , Ibaraki Ken
Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8573, Ibaraki 3050006
Japan

Waseda University - School of Social Science ( email )

1-6-1 Nishiwaseda
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8050
Japan

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