Japanese man fined $80 after Netflix star’s suicide


Hana Kimura looks on during the press conference Bushiroad and Stardom on October 17, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.

Terrace House was cancelled after Hana Kimura’s death in May 2020

A man has been fined 9,000 yen ($80; £59) over online abuse directed at a Japanese reality star who took her own life last year, prosecutors say.

Reports say the unnamed man posted messages on Hana Kimura’s social media account about her “awful personality”, and asking “when will you die?”

Kamura, 22, was the target of hundreds of abusive tweets from fans and critics on a daily basis.

The reality show, Terrace House, was cancelled after her death in May.

Terrace House, co-produced by Japan’s FujiTV and distributed by Netflix, was popular among global audiences before its cancellation.

The unscripted reality show follows six young people who live together in one house in Japan but generally go about their daily lives.

It had in recent years gained a huge following for its authentic interactions between cast members and its relative lack of drama.

‘Too lenient’

Kimura was one of six members on the show’s latest season, Tokyo 2019-2020.

Reports say the social media abuse of her worsened after a particular episode – only screened in Japan – which saw her getting into an altercation with a roommate.

Before her death, she reportedly posted images of self harm on Twitter along with messages that suggested she was distressed.

Reports quoting police said the man, who has not been named, had posted increasingly abusive messages on her social media account.

He has been charged with the crime of “insults”. Under Japanese law, the maximum penalty that can be imposed under this charge is 9,999 yen.

There is a more serious charge of “defamation”, under which an individual could be fined up to 500,000 yen. It is not clear why the lighter sentence was applied in this situation.

The ruling prompted comments on social media that the punishment was too light.

“(This charge) is too lenient,” said one comment on Twitter, whereas another called the law “wrong”.

In the wake of Kimura’s death, Japan’s communications ministry began looking into measures to make it easier for targets of online slander to obtain information on their attackers, according to a Japan Times report.

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, help and support can be found at this BBC Action Line.

If you are in Japan you can contact the Bond Project, Japan Suicide Countermeasures Promotion Center or Life link.

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