Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Freedom Of Press" Update: Lawsuit Involving Thousands Seeks to Nickel and Dime Newspaper into Oblivion


Thousands of People Sue Asahi for Articles on Wartime Sex Slaves

TOKYO – A group of over 8,700 people have sued the Japanese daily newspaper Asahi for articles on sexual slavery during World War II and have sought compensation and apology for “spreading erroneous facts to international society,” the Mainichi newspaper reported Tuesday.

According to the suit filed at the Tokyo District Court on Monday, the plaintiffs, including researchers, journalists and lawmakers, demanded that Asahi pay a compensation of 10,000 yen ($75) to each for having harmed the Japanese people’s personal rights and honor.

More people plan to join the lawsuit and it is expected that in the future, the number of plaintiffs could increase to some 13,000, a spokesperson from the group told the Kyodo news agency.

The charge comes after Asahi apologized in August for a series of reports, published decades ago and allegedly based on false accounts, about recruitment of women in the Korean island of Jeju to service the sexual needs of Japanese troops during World War II.

The plaintiffs criticized the newspaper saying, “Asahi has merely apologized to readers and made no efforts to restore the public’s honor in international society.”

Sophia University professor emeritus Shoichi Watanabe, who is leading the plaintiffs, said at a press conference that he was angry with Asahi for making the Japanese people feel ashamed.

An official from Asahi said that the company would decide how to deal with the matter after thoroughly studying the complaint.

About 200,000 young girls and women in China and Korea were forcibly recruited by the Japanese army during the war to provide sexual services to its soldiers and were known as “comfort women.”

The episode continues to be a cause for tension between Japan and its two neighbors.

After denying the cases of sexual slavery for decades, Japan finally admitted to it and apologized in 1993 when clear proof came to light.

However, there are still movements that maintain, like the current lawsuit, that there is no clear evidence that Japanese authorities took comfort women forcefully. 


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