The Japan Times have reported that a man in his 20s may soon be referred to prosecutors regarding allegations relating to the online abuse suffered by the late Hana Kimura.
Tokyo Metropolitan Police suspect the man of aiming several egregious posts towards Kimura via Twitter.
Online abuse, largely pertaining to her appearance on the Netflix reality show ‘Terrace House’, was cited by Kimura as having overwhelmed her in a series of social media posts prior to her passing.
Tragically, Kimura was found dead at her Tokyo apartment in May of this year, following a suspected suicide. She was just 22 years old.
Hana’s mother Kyoko, herself a former pro wrestler, acknowledged the investigation’s development on Twitter but noted that she had been advised by the authorities to refrain from commenting at this time.
— 木村響子 (@kimurarock) December 16, 2020
The passing of Hana Kimura, and the circumstances around it, have since prompted a wave of positive action in Japan, energising the debate on how to stem cyber bullying.
At government level, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party have since considered amending their laws surrounding social media, relaxing information disclosure requirements in a bid to improve a victim’s visibility of their attacker and revising the criminal penalties for defamatory libel.
Changes have also been felt at a corporate level, with a Japanese industry group issuing an emergency statement on May 26th, noting that its member companies, including Line, TikTok’s ByteDance and Twitter Japan, would henceforth ban and remove any accounts found to be engaging in cyber bullying.
These are clearly positive steps and a nod to Hana’s legacy. It is, of course, a shame that such changes have come at such a high price.
Following Hana’s passing, her mother Kyoko set up a Pro Wrestling Tees store in her memory, with the profits going directly to Hana’s family. You can visit the store here, should you wish to support.