Monday 27 January 2020

Japanese journalist wins €27,000 in damages after rape case against TV newsman was dropped by prosecutors

Shiori Ito talks to her supporters outside court. Photo: AP
Shiori Ito talks to her supporters outside court. Photo: AP

Mari Yamaguchi

A court awarded damages to a freelance journalist yesterday in a high-profile rape case that had been dropped by Japanese prosecutors.

The Tokyo District Court ordered Noriyuki Yamaguchi, a former newsman at TBS Television known for close ties to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other conservative politicians, to pay 3.3 million yen (€27,120) to Shiori Ito, who filed a civil suit against him seeking compensation.

Ms Ito filed the civil suit in 2017 after prosecutors decided not to press charges against Mr Yamaguchi. She demanded 11 million yen (€90,440) in damages and sought to find out why prosecutors dropped the criminal case. Mr Yamaguchi has denied any wrongdoing in published articles and on social media, saying they had sex by consent.

He filed a countersuit this year, demanding she pay 130 million yen (€1.08m) for allegedly damaging his reputation by accusing him of rape. The court ruled that Mr Yamaguchi's act was not consensual sex but an assault, and dismissed all of his claims.

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He said after the ruling that he plans to appeal the verdict. He said the ruling one-sidedly upheld Ms Ito's arguments without closely looking into details and facts. "I have never done anything that violated the law," Mr Yamaguchi said.

"It was so unfair that the ruling only accepted Ms Ito's arguments, despite claims that were untrue."

Ms Ito and her supporters said they hope her victory will promote awareness that will help create a society in which sexual victims don't feel intimidated or isolated.

Irish Independent

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