Man Fined $80 for Online Abuse Targeting Japanese Reality Star Who Committed Suicide

Hana Kimura

A man has been fined 9,000 yen ($80) for sending abusive messages to Japanese reality star and professional wrestler Hana Kimura before she committed suicide in May 2020.

The man reportedly wrote comments attacking Kimura, telling her she had an “awful personality” and asking “When will you die?” on her social media account, according to BBC

Kimura, 22, was the daily target of social media trolls. Before her death, she openly discussed her distress with her Twitter followers and even posted images of self-harm.

Kimura’s death prompted Japanese citizens to urge the government to enforce stricter laws on online abuse. The verdict on Tuesday infuriated her fans, with many arguing that the fine was too lenient.

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The man was charged with an “insult” crime, which has a maximum penalty of 9,999 yen ($90.29). It is unclear why the man was not given a “defamation” charge, which has a maximum penalty of  500,000 yen ($4,515).

Though the man’s identity is unknown, he is reported to be in his 20s and living in Osaka. According to various Japanese media sources, he has apologized to Kimura’s family. 

The popular Japanese reality television show “Terrace House” was canceled following Kimura’s death. The show centered around six people who move in together and form various friendships and relationships. Kimura started receiving more hate comments after the show captured an argument with one of her roommates, according to The Washington Post.

Her mother has since filed a claim against the show’s network, Fuji Television, for human rights violations, arguing that it was responsible for fueling the drama between Kimura and her male co-star.

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The human rights committee of the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization found earlier this week that while Fuji Television did violate broadcasting ethics to some degree, no human rights violations had occurred. The committee claimed that it reached out to Kimura upon learning she had harmed herself. 

“It cannot be said that her ability to make free decisions had been stripped,” the report read, according to Variety

Fuji Television has declared that it will take these findings more seriously by addressing social media-related issues. 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has announced that more resources will be allocated to helping victims of online abuse via a complaint hotline starting this month.

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Feature Image via Recreation705

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