Nagoya – In several posts in September, 18-year-old Noah Zukino shared his suicidal thoughts with his social network followers.
Under various circumstances, the posts of a Nagoya teenager, a former member of a group of juvenile idols, and well-known places in some of the city’s youth circles, may have served as a warning and prompted her to receive the help she needed.
Instead, Zukino became another victim of cyber-hooligans in a country where such stories have become all too familiar.
News in which she referred to her suicidal intentions received toxic comments, including one stating that she was “simply falsifying”.
On September 27, Zukino left her last report in response to an abusive comment in which she thanked her friends and other loved ones and confirmed her decision to end her life, saying: “The next thing I will do is make sure the EU dies.”
Zukino and one of her friends killed themselves on September 30 in downtown Nagoya. On a suicide note, she said cyberbullying had taken her life.
Zukino’s mother confirmed the daughter’s death the next day, shortly after the media reported the incident. It was reported that online young people took over the anxiety, many of whom lamented that she had not been saved.
Internet users soon angered those who criticized Tsukino, especially who called him a “counterfeiter” on Twitter. This comment was then deleted.
A female colleague in a maid’s café, where Tsukino had worked part-time, was also targeted, and a YouTube user even posted a video in which the girl was forced to kneel and apologize.
Tsukino’s mother, who fears such retaliation, will only cause more casualties, has called for an end to the abuse.
“That’s not what my daughter would have wanted,” she said.
Calls for legal change over cyberbullying have grown since Hana Kimura (22), a participant in the popular Netflix reality show Terrace House, was found dead in midst of suicide in May after becoming the target of hate speech on social media.
The government board last month proposed a reduction in court proceedings so that victims of cybercrime could be identified more quickly as defamatory positions.
The jury of the Ministry of Communications received more than 5,000 complaints about online abuse, including defamation, in the financial year 2019, a fourfold jump from the financial year 2010. The government plans to submit a bill to review the current law during next year’s regular diet session.
But Chiki Ogiue, a critic who is well versed in cybercrime, said online violence is likely to continue to cause such tragedies unless social media platforms take more action.
“There has to be a system that assesses the suitability of an abusive post every time it is created,” he said.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In an emergency, please contact 119 Japan immediately. TELL Lifeline is available to those who need a free and anonymous consultation by calling 03-5774-0992. You can also visit them at telljp.com. For those in other countries, visit www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html for a detailed list of resources and assistance.
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