Journalist Minoru Tanaka who became a suspect = 7 May 2012 In front of Tokyo District Court : Photo by Ryusaku Tanaka
Once again a journalist was trapped by SLAPP.*Furthermore it's related to nuclear industry. SLAPP is to chase up a poor individual person by financial sanction and it's all the same with nuclear industry which pays poor residents off to keep their mouth shut.
Minoru Tanaka (52 years old) - who knows well the dark side of Japanese political circles - wrote an article in Shukan Kinyobi (Issue16. Dec. 2011). The title was "Last Big Fixer break into patronage of Tepco".
The protagonist of the article established a security company for the facilities of nuclear industry and has got a strong connection with political circles. The article is about the deep connection between Tepco and general constructors who share the patronage of nuclear industry.
Three months after the magazine was released, this person committed a procedure against the journalist saying that "the article has no basis in fact and is a defamation". He was condemned to pay 66 980 000 Yens in damages.
On 7th May first oral proceedings were held at Tokyo District Court, Minoru Tanaka as a suspect said that
"It is obvious that this trial is a nuclear SLAPP from a person who got huge amounts of advantages as an enterprise working for nuclear Industry and who is against just an individual journalist…(Omission of a passage)... He already had been reported as a "fixer". It's important to investigate and write about how he reacted inside Nuclear Industry because he is playing a coordinating role, especially after Fukushima nuclear plant accident. The public interest is extremely high."
"Those fixers worked under the conglomerates who made nuclear safety a myth. Since we all know that nuclear safety was an illusion, people now want to know all the structural outlines of corruption and to uncover the whole truth"...
Minoru Tanaka's hand with which he held the statement of facts was trembling with anger.
Free-lance journalist Hiromichi Ugaya once was condemned to pay 50 000 000 Yens in damages to Oricon company for his comments in a magazine.
He lost the first judgment and, in 2009, the second judgment was an accommodation.
As a journalist who experienced SLAPP, Ugaya says that "this trial is typically a SLAPP one, it's like written in a guide". Mentally, economically and temporaly those damages aims at preventing free journalists from working.
But in Japan, Justice has no idea of what SLAPP is. Court starts the trial of the case of SLAPP as if it was normal. We have to stop SLAPP at the entrance of the court as does the State of California in US.
To make improper use of court cases gives effect on judicial system.
Although it seems impossible to hope something for Japanese judicial system where even a retired judge can take a seat** in a nuclear company.
Courtesy : Ryusaku Tanaka
*SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation)
** AMAKUDARI System in Japan
Amakudari (天下り amakudari?, "descent from heaven") is the institutionalised practice where Japanese senior bureaucrats retire to high-profile positions in the private and public sectors. The practice is increasingly viewed as corrupt and a drag on unfastening the ties between private sector and state which prevent economic and political reforms.