Will Japan tackle slander on the Internet?
Japan’s Justice Ministry announced that Internet slander cases rose 23% in 2008. I have seen my fair share of “haters” flaming, spamming and spewing their rhetoric on various websites. As I said in my Japan Times interview, “Black Tokyo receives a fair amount of spam and occasional hate mail.” Another thing spread on the Internet are rumors, the latest of which in Japan is the speculation that the GOJ plans to sign up freeters and unemployed young people for 6 months military service. As you can imagine, this could unnerve many in a country that act to hawk peace and react to those hawking for a piece of the action. Japan has been a safe haven for all kinds of opinions from a society that deters people from speaking their minds in public. Will the GOJ get tough and do something about slander on the Internet?
Terrie Lloyd from J@pan, Inc. writes: “Japan is a highly competitive society. With the downturn in the economy, it’s fast becoming a battle for survival of the fittest. Weak and vulnerable companies are being culled by the banks and their creditors at a rapid pace, and healthier firms are shoring up their finances as best they can, to make sure that they are the last ones leftstanding. It’s all very Darwinian.In this environment, another Darwinian behavior for humans at least, is that the rumor mills are working overtime. Partly because of scared workers speculating whether their employers are stable, in lieu of proper information from their management. And partly due to hard-nosed managers trying to deal their competitors a fatal blow by scaring the competitor’s creditors and lenders. While we’re not saying that firms are deliberately trying to invent rumors to kill off their weaker competitors, an illegal act, certainly once the word is out on the street that someone is in trouble, most companies have little problem in fueling the speculation. “Business is war” is an apt description of what Japanese companies are willing to do to each other to gain the upper hand.”
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