June 26, 2001
CONTACT: Joan Anderson
Office of Public Information
Nobuhira's Final Appeal Dismissed: Case Closed
On June 26, 2001, the Supreme Court of Japan dismissed the final appeal of Junko Nobuhira who had made claims against Daisaku Ikeda, honorary president of Soka Gakkai, for damages linked to his wife Nobuko Nobuhira's 1996 allegations of sexual assault.
The Supreme Court upheld the May 2000 ruling of the Tokyo District Court which had dismissed Mr. Nobuhira's case--claiming that his right to a tranquil married life had been infringed--as an abuse of the right of action.
Nobuko Nobuhira's allegations were first made in the Shukan Shincho tabloid magazine in February 1996, at a time of intense political upheaval. Her statements were immediately utilized widely by politicians and the media with an agenda of discrediting Mr. Ikeda, Soka Gakkai and the then New Frontier Party (Shinshinto) which former Komeito politicians had joined. Mrs. Nobuhira herself brought a highly publicized civil case against Mr. Ikeda in June 1996 which has already been dismissed.
"Nobuko Nobuhira's allegations naturally caused a huge amount of damage to the reputation of Mr. Ikeda and Soka Gakkai. This ruling brings to an end five years of struggle to clear his name," comments Soka Gakkai International spokesperson Rie Tsumura. "It is a relief to see the end of this abuse of the legal system."
The May 30, 2000, judgment of the Tokyo District Court on Junko Nobuhira's case found no factual evidence to support his claims and found that Mrs. Nobuhira's allegations lacked credibility. Careful investigation of her allegations was undertaken, but her recollections of dates, times and places of alleged assaults changed time after time in response to evidence, which disproved the possibility of assault, and additional incidents were added during the court proceedings as she claimed to have recalled them.
The Tokyo District Court judgment also stated that the Nobuhiras were removed from their leadership positions in the Hokkaido Soka Gakkai in May 1992 because of repeated borrowing of money from local members, and that Junko Nobuhira had made numerous threatening telephone calls to Soka Gakkai headquarters in late 1995.
It concluded, "It is inevitable for the Defendant to be a target of criticisms from various sources as honorary president of a major religious group. Nevertheless, there is no reason why the Defendant should have to suffer pointless media coverage of an extremely baseless, scandalous accusation such as this."
On January 31, 2001, the Tokyo High Court upheld the ruling of the District Court and today's Supreme Court dismissal of Junko Nobuhira's appeal finally lays the case to rest.