(TRANSLATED FROM JAPANESE TEXT)
MAINICHI SHIMBUN (evening edition)
March 26, 1998
Shinchosha Loses Final Appeal:
Supreme Court Rules Plaintiff Was Libeled
On March 26, the Supreme Court (chaired by Chief Judge Mitsuo Saito) upheld the lower courts' decisions ordering publisher Shinchosha Co., Ltd. (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo) to pay 1.1 million yen [approx. US$10,000] in damages to a man from Tomakomaki City, Hokkaido, who claimed that he had been libeled by an article published in Shukan Shincho [published by Shinchosha] and filed suit against the publisher. The Supreme Court rejected Shinchosha's final appeal.
At issue was a September 1, 1994, article that Shukan Shincho ran under the headline, "Soka Gakkai Leader Kills Taiseki-ji Priest in Car Crash." It referred to a July 1994 automobile accident that took place on a national highway in Otakimura, Hokkaido, in which a priest died in an automobile accident when his car collided with a truck operated by the plaintiff. The Sapporo High Court had previously indicated "the article headline and photographs give the impression and conjecture that the plaintiff deliberately caused death by car crash," and the Supreme Court stressed "This Court acknowledges the justice of the High Court's ruling and decision."
[Note: As it appeared in the March 26, 1998 issue of the evening edition of the Mainichi Shimbun]