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Yomiuri loses appeal over articles linking team to yakuza

Shukan Bunshun June 28
Shukan Bunshun June 28

TOKYO (TR) – The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the Yomiuri Giants over a tabloid concerning articles that claimed a former manager of the baseball club paid off a former organized crime member, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Dec. 16).

Between June and July of 2012, Shukan Bunshun reported that Tatsunori Hara paid 100 million yen to a former gangster and another man who had extorted him over evidence of an adulterous escapade that had taken place place in 1988.

In press conference held before the release of the first article, a representative of Yomiuri claimed that the team did not have ties to organized crime. “In order to prevent a conflict with the Professional Baseball Agreement, it is presumed that it a false statement was made,” said presiding judge Kiyotaka Kono. “The important parts of the articles are factual.”

The 57-year-old former skipper acknowledged the payoff, which was completed in 2006, but indicated that he did not know of any gangster involvement and had no connections to organized crime.

The Tokyo District Court had previously ruled in favor of the magazine in July. The Giants had been seeking 30 million yen in compensation and a published apology.

A representative of Bungeisha, which publishes Shukan Bunshun, said that the result of the appeal is satisfactory. Meanwhile, a representative of Yomiuri’s public relations department called it a “a grossly unfair judgment containing factual errors.”