A man has been fined 9,000 yen ($ 80; £ 59) for online abuse directed at a Japanese reality TV star who committed suicide last year, prosecutors have said.
Before she died, 22-year-old Hana Kimura wrote a series of social media posts suggesting she had been cyberbullied.
Reports say the man posted messages on her social media account saying she has a “horrible personality” and asking “when will you die?”
The reality show, Terrace House, was canceled after his death in May.
Terrace House, co-produced by Japanese FujiTV and distributed by Netflix, was popular with audiences worldwide before its cancellation.
The unscripted reality show follows six young people who live together in a house in Japan but generally go about their daily lives.
In recent years, he had gained tremendous success for his authentic interactions between the cast members and his relative lack of drama.
Kimura, who joined Terrace House last September, was one of six members of the show’s final season, Tokyo 2019-2020.
She has reportedly been the target of hundreds of abusive tweets from fans and critics on a daily basis.
Local media say this abuse worsened after a particular episode – screened only in Japan – which saw him get into an argument with a roommate.
Before her death, she reportedly posted images of self-harm on Twitter with messages that read, “I don’t want to be a human anymore. It was a life I wanted to be loved. Thank you everyone, I love you. Goodbye. . “
Reports citing police said the man, who has not been named, has been posting increasingly abusive messages on his social media account.
He was charged with the crime of “insulting”. Under Japanese law, the maximum penalty that can be imposed under this tax is 9,999 yen.
There is a more serious charge of “libel”, under which an individual could be fined up to 500,000 yen. It is not known why the lighter phrase was applied in this situation.
The decision prompted comments on social media that the punishment was too light.
“[This charge] is too lenient, ”one comment on Twitter said, while another called the law“ bad ”.
Following his death, Japan’s communications ministry began exploring measures to make it easier for targets of online slander to obtain information about their attackers, according to a report from the Japan Times.
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If you are in Japan, you can contact the Draft bonds, Japan Center for the Promotion of Suicide Countermeasures or Life link.