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Former Osaka mayor Hashimoto loses suit over ‘illness’ article

The November 2011 issue of Shincho 45
The November, 2011 issue of Shincho 45

OSAKA (TR) – The Osaka High Court on Thursday ruled against former Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto in an appeal against a publisher over an article that described him as having an “illness,” reports the Sankei Shimbun (April 22).

Presiding judge Satoshi Nakamura ruled in favor of publisher Shinchosha over an article written by a psychiatrist and appearing in the November, 2011 issue of Shincho 45. “The article does not contain illegal elements,” said the judge.

The publisher was appealing a ruling handed down by the Osaka District Court in September in which the former mayor was awarded 1.1 million yen. Hashimoto had originally sought 110 million yen as compensation for libel.

The district court ruled that the article, which claimed that Hashimoto suffered from a “mental illness,” was not factual. Nakamura of the high court agreed but viewed that the contents of other articles provided “reason to believe that it was factual.”

Earlier this month, the Osaka District Court ruled in favor of Hashimoto over publisher Bungeisha for an article that said he received sex services courtesy of the management association of the Tobita Shinchi brothel quarter while he was employed as a legal adviser.

A representative from the editorial division of Shincho 45 commented, “Since we have confidence in the articles we publish, we viewed the decision as a natural conclusion.” Hashimoto did not comment on the ruling.