November 17, 2003 (USA edition)
"Rape claims are unacceptable"
Rebuttal to "Japan's LDP puts faith in religious partner," an article appearing in the USA edition of the November 6, 2003 Financial Times (London, England).
Sir, With reference to your article "Japan's LDP puts faith in religious partner" (November 6), about Japan's New Komeito party and the Soka Gakkai members who are providing electoral support to the Liberal Democratic party: your reporter's casual and irresponsible reference to "media claims of sexual harassment and even rape against Daisaku Ikeda" is most unacceptable.
The 1996 claims of rape made against Mr Ikeda, president of Soka Gakkai International, by Nobuko Nobuhira were conclusively dismissed by Japan's Supreme Court in June 2001. No factual basis was found, despite extensive investigations.
The May 2000 Tokyo district court judgment related to the final case contains the following statement: "The plaintiff's conduct during the course of this trial, including unreasonable changes of claims...are extremely unnatural, not in accordance with those of one who genuinely seeks redress for damages, and are entirely against good faith. Such an attitude is considered to stem from the lack of factual basis of the present suit." The case was decisively dismissed as an abuse of the right of action (the right to seek redress in a court of law).
Several press releases were issued by our office to all Tokyo correspondents and bureaux giving details on the outcome of these cases.
Rape is a grave crime of sexual violence. Allegations of rape create an indelible negative impression and they should never be casually repeated where there is a public record proving them baseless.
Rie Tsumura, Director of Communications, Soka Gakkai
International, Tokyo 160-0017, Japan
[Note: As it appeared in the November 17 issue of the "Letters to the Editor" section of the USA edition of The Financial Times]