At the Fukuoka bureau of the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper in July, a reporter resigned after leaking confidential information related to an assistant inspector who had been arrested for accepting bribes from organized crime members.
Shukan Bunshun (Aug. 30) reveals that a police superintendent who served as the reporter’s source attempted suicide the following month.
On July 20, reporter Masahiro Goto, 33, disclosed the identities of his sources after he mistakenly sent an email containing his reporting to multiple news organizations while he was attempting to contact his editorial colleagues.
“An assistant inspector from the Higashi Police Station of the Fukuoka prefectural police was subject to an internal investigation after being suspected of having received cash payments from organized crime members in exchange for information,” Goto wrote, citing his source as being the police superintendent.
Shukan Bunshun says that the message was delivered to the 13 participating media outlets in the Fukuoka administration of justice press club. The chief of the city desk at the Yomiuri then requested that the news organizations delete the mail as it had been sent in error.
On July 21, the Yomiuri published the contents of Goto’s story at the top of page one in the morning Fukuoka edition. A reporter for another news agency then followed up on the story and made an inquiry mentioning the name of the police superintendent, who on August 6 would attempt suicide via hanging at his home.
An article from the editorial department appearing morning edition of the Yomiuri on August 14 indicated that Goto had resigned over the incident. The paper added that it was in the process of enforcing disciplinary measures upon the reporter’s superiors as swift attention to the matter was lacking.
The article also said that it is crucial for reporters to ensure that their sources remain confidential for safety reasons. The paper, however, failed to mention the police superintendent’s attempt to take his life.
When contacted for comment by Shukan Bunshun, a representative of the Yomiuri declined to provide a response.
Source: “Yomiuri Shimbun meeru oyamaru soshin mondai de keisatsukan ga jisatsusui shiteita,” Shukan Bunshun (Aug. 30, pages 160-161)