A Japanese court has fined two men for defamation over online hate comments against a South Korean resident of Japan. The court ruled that the comments were meant to incite ethnic discrimination.
The subject of the comments was a 35-year-old resident of the city of Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture.
According to police, he spotted the comments on the online forum 2channel in 2016. Users can post anonymously on the forum.
He filed a complaint with police, and police referred the case to prosecutors last November without finding out who wrote the comments.
Prosecutors later determined that the comments were written by two men who also live in Ishigaki. They indicted the two on charges of defamation.
Last month, the Ishigaki Summary Court fined the two defendants 100,000 yen, or about 900 dollars, each.
A lawyer familiar with hate speech cases says this is most likely the first one in Japan in which a court found that online hate comments constituted defamation.
Under Japanese law, defamation is more serious than insults, which past court decisions have found in online comments.