“It’s necessary to properly implement procedures to disclose information on senders in order to curb online abuses and rescue victims,” said communications minister Sanae Takaichi on Tuesday. He said that this requires “a sense of speed,” and that the law could be amended by the end of this year.
His statement followed a meeting between Diet (parliament) affairs chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Hiroshi Moriyama, and Jun Azumi of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party. They agreed to clear the way for a discussion in parliament on the topic.
A research group at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication is also discussing ways of identifying online bullies.
Possible changes include requiring social network service operators to disclose the identities and phone numbers of abusers, if called on to do so.
In a joint statement, a group of social network companies, including the Japanese branches of Facebook, Twitter and Line, said they would ban abusers. However, they also said that they would respect freedom of expression and protect privacy. The statement did not explain how they would achieve these two opposite ambitions.
Kimura died on Saturday having frequently been on the receiving end of derogatory comments about her looks, her personality and her role in the show, which is broadcast locally by Fuji Television and also carried internationally on Netflix. Japanese media have reported that Kimura’s death was by suicide.
The day of her death, Kimura posted a message on Instagram. Showing a picture of herself and a cat, the message read: “I love you, please live a long and joyful life. I’m sorry.”