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Japan concerned over prospect of S Korea jail time for reporter

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The daily schedule of the POUS is printed in detail so why not president of Korea, especially during a NATIONAL CRISIS.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If you take that position, then the fact someone speculated on it, with however much or little evidence, is surely not sufficient cause to call for a prison sentence.

If you take that position, then slander and libel are now A-OK. Not a chance!

It should be flat out illegal to print details of anyone's private life without express permission from the individual in question. Who they are sleeping with and where is not in the public interest. Only public and criminal business is. Any so-called journalist or paparazzi who attempts to sell or print private, personal information should be thrown in the slammer for a few months. Its obvious to all but those who have a sick, prurient desire to read these details, or those with an equally sick desire to destroy people out of jealousy or profit/power motives.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@daito_hakOCT. 20, 2015 - 07:31PM JST

Did TEPCO boss account for where he really was when four nuclear reactors were blowing up?

Say what you want about TEPCO boss, but I hadn't heard of him imprisoning people for proposing versions of where he is.

@SenseNotSoCommonOCT. 20, 2015 - 10:08PM JST

Korea and Japan are neck and neck - though Korea leads by a nose - in the World Press Freedom Index, just below Malawi. http://index.rsf.org/#!/

I find this a little ridiculous in the light of this. Say what you want about the new secrecy law - at least no one has been publicly fried by it yet.

@5SpeedRacer5OCT. 21, 2015 - 12:54AM JST

Japan restrains itself from prosecuting the press, but people saying outrageous and unfounded things can do damage to the polity.

And there is the critical line in the sand. There will be people who say nasty things about you (the wild arse speculating about negative motives in EVERY visit to Yasukuni or every speech Japan makes about WWII surely is more damaging than talk about how Park is having a bit of fun while a ferry was sinking). That you can restrain yourself shows a high appreciation of the virtues of freedom of speech.

@New GuyOCT. 21, 2015 - 10:43AM JST

The fact that a human president would take some human time off is completely unrelated to anything newsworthy, including the disaster that happened the following day.

If you take that position, then the fact someone speculated on it, with however much or little evidence, is surely not sufficient cause to call for a prison sentence.

@ GWOCT. 21, 2015 - 12:29PM JST

This ""reporter"" is just a pawn, the game is playing out, Korea is making a point(one I don't agree with but a point none the less). The will likely be found guilty, suspended sentence, sent home.

We shall see. Frankly, South Korea will lose too much face to acquit him, let's see if it is a suspended sentence or whether they'll really swing that hard a blow against freedom of speech.

@theeastisredOCT. 21, 2015 - 03:21PM JST

However SK chooses to govern itself, it is making a grave error in this case, creating a martyr out of an insignificant and unrespected news organisation, and exposing its legal system to ridicule.

Its legal system, not so much. But its respect for freedom of the press will.

As for Sankei, it is about the 4th largest newspaper in Japan. Westerners don't like it (they hear that anything that is not completely apologetic about comfort women and they get this knee-jerk reaction), but it does represent a very significant position and also is a counter to Asahi's slant.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

YuriOtani:

He should not go back to "Republic" of Korea and he should not be extradited to "Republic" of Korea.

Are you suggesting South Korea is not a republic? And what would that have to do with this story if it were true?

However SK chooses to govern itself, it is making a grave error in this case, creating a martyr out of an insignificant and unrespected news organisation, and exposing its legal system to ridicule.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A few posting here can see all this for what it REALLY is. That is payback for all the nasty ""reporting"" sankei does about Korea, simple as that!

This ""reporter"" is just a pawn, the game is playing out, Korea is making a point(one I don't agree with but a point none the less).

The will likely be found guilty, suspended sentence, sent home.

Everything else is just smoke & mirrors!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The fact that a human president would take some human time off is completely unrelated to anything newsworthy, including the disaster that happened the following day.

I am glad to see that at least one country has a criminal penalty for being such a low life at to attack another human for their humanity.

Freedom of speech and the freedom on the press do not mean a freedom to slander or smear at will. Negative information about a person is fine, only so long as it relevant Her love life is relevant to nothing.

18 months jail is excessive. I think 6 months is more appropriate. But if he gets the full term, I won't complain.

Suga should shut his stupid face and stop trying to make this crime about bi-lateral relations. Anybody attempting to make this about politics is a self absorbed idiot.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"Japanese journalist accused of defaming president Park Geun-Hye..."

Park is a public figure. "Defaming" a public figure should never be illegal. Why? Because it is all too easy for politicians to silence criticism that way.

So, I say, we should all start 'defaming' Park.

I hear she likes to dress up in North Korean uniforms while spanking her pet chihuahua...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sankei Shibuni is infamous for bashing pres park totally out of line and Japanese govt would do the the same if foreign reporter was utterly malicious toward it's leader or dare defame the imperial family.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Speed a Korean journalist would not get prosecuted for insulting the Prime Minister of Japan. In fact it is considered a high art form in some circles.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Smith is basically right. Strip away all the politics, which are admittedly pretty thick in this case, if someone takes a bunch of rumors and then prints them without a ton of qualifications, especially in a case that affected Koreans emotionally as that disaster did, and ... well... you are not doing your duty as a journalist.

Just as an obvious example, after the earthquake four years ago, all kinds of stupid rumor mongering was going on. It should not have, and most of it was not really that bad. But some foreigners dropped in and decided to make crazy claims. Japan restrains itself from prosecuting the press, but people saying outrageous and unfounded things can do damage to the polity. This guy should not get a pass just because he is Japanese. And being a journalist is not a license to do or say whatever you want.

Today's journalists are not only irresponsible, they are largely inept. If responsible journalism can't be learned from peers or universities, maybe journalists need to be taught using other means.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Suga said Tokyo had officially voiced its concern over the case several times, “from the viewpoint of freedom of press, freedom of expression and bilateral ties between Japan and South Korea”.

This was the point where I just started laughing....

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So again country regress to anti free speech, seems that except for the electronic toys the naked monkey can't seem to move forward when it comes to freedom. Oh well nice to know at least where I live we are armed to the teeth just incase.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He should not go back to "Republic" of Korea and he should not be extradited to "Republic" of Korea. After all insulting the South Korean President is not a crime in Japan.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Now if Park would be suing this guy for defamation on behalf of herself, she would have all the right to do so.

Actually she doesn't since she would have been summoned to office due to a national crisis in which case she was on the clock meaning whatever she was doing at wherever she was in office hours being an elected official not within private capacity.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

So ... Where was she when the ferry sank?

Is it true that South Korean papers picked up the same story but nobody is going to jail?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Korea and Japan are neck and neck - though Korea leads by a nose - in the World Press Freedom Index, just below Malawi.

http://index.rsf.org/#!/

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The problem is the President got exposed and she was off on a date that came to light and she wants him to pay the price because it embarrassed her.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Instead of creating a martyr for the Japanese 4th estate, it would be more intelligent for S. Korea to simply shut down Sankei's bureau and refuse entry to Japanese freelance journalists whose body of work clearly indicates a consistently negative bias in their reporting. That is the way Singapore operates, by the way.

Don't be absurd. They don't stop at shutting down the bureau or refusing entry. Singapore is notorious for its vindictive use of defamation laws against the media. Unsurprisingly, the domestic media (the parts of it that aren't government owned), learning from experience, has long been too cowed and submissive to put up any resistance.

The list of foreign publications that have fallen foul of these laws - and we are talking here about cases brought specifically by Lee Kwan Yew or his son Lee Hsien Loong - is a long one: the International Herald Tribune, the Economist, Asiaweek, Bloomberg, The Far Eastern Economic Review, The Asian Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and Time.

The payouts to the Lees are large - if they weren't drowning in money already, one would say lucrative - and they have never lost a case.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/asia/in-singapore-the-economics-of-defamation.html

It's worth remembering that while this ultra thin-skinned family has been using these tactics - Lee Hsien Loong now even goes after online bloggers - they have been the highest paid "democratic" leaders in the world.

Anyone who can't see that there is an abuse of power involved - that in fact, the entire system is rotten - is being selectively blind.

It its own defamation case, Korea seems to be emulating the Singaporean model. They seem to have overlooked that there are very good reasons why leaders in normal democracies do not (or legally cannot) chuck around defamation suits.

But at least Korea, being a large and diverse country with a very vocal populace, will weather the ridicule and not be primarily remembered for this kind of foolishness. Singapore, while the Lee family calls the shots, is always going to be a bit of a joke.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Much ado about nothing. On November 26 the verdict will come in "guilty as charged" with an 18 month jail term stipulated but the sentence will be a suspended sentence for three years and if the reporter does not commit another crime in South Korea during the next three years he will be home free and can even apply for a new visa to work in Seoul if he wants if his visa app is accepted. He will be in court that day but since the sentence will be "suspended for three years" he will be allowed to fly back to Tokyo that evening.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And I must wonder, did our friend Park account for where she really was in those hours?

Did TEPCO boss account for where he really was when four nuclear reactors were blowing up?

No. So I would suggest you and anyone else (including Kato) coming up with the "where was Park" thing to be very careful with this argument. It comes back to your face quite quickly...

Now if Park would be suing this guy for defamation on behalf of herself, she would have all the right to do so. If this guy is being prosecuted with the notion he defamed the president of Korea and therefore the entire nation, then Korea is embarrassing itself and showing the world that its government is as much repressive as the ones in China and Japan.

Which by the way means that Japan should really avoid to speak about freedom of press and freedom of expression since this country basically violates them on a regular basis. Enough with the hypocrisy.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@smithinjapanOCT. 20, 2015 - 06:10PM JST

Again, he got it off the internet, for starters. Second, he took 'rumors' and then posted his own story which twisted it as though it were fact, and his opinion on her doing what she was doing.

Like it or not, rumors are often the best available information, especially when it comes to the whereabouts of President when a disaster happens and it ain't something cool.

This will have an inevitable chilling effect on media in Korea as a whole. Do it once on any pretext and you can't really go back.

And I must wonder, did our friend Park account for where she really was in those hours?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Galapagos: "Kato's crime was quoting the Korean media! How many of the reporters who wrote the initial story have been jailed?"

Again, he got it off the internet, for starters. Second, he took 'rumors' and then posted his own story which twisted it as though it were fact, and his opinion on her doing what she was doing. The sources he took from were gossiping. He took that and for the purposes of defamation made his own judgements without bother to verify if the rumours were true or not. Do you know why the Japanese media always says terms like, "suspect" or "alleged suspect" even after someone pleads guilty? It's because until the courts pronounce a verdict it is libel to call someone 'guilty', or 'the criminal', etc. The Sankei reporter took gossip and made it slander and libel.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

In cases of defamation, doesn't it have to be proven that what was said is, in fact, false?

This only applies if you're in a sane country, so...no, it doesn't have to be proven that what he said is false.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The article picked up rumors circulating in the South Korean media that the unmarried Park had disappeared for a tryst with her former aide at the time of the disaster.

Doesn't anybody read the article before posting? Kato's crime was quoting the Korean media! How many of the reporters who wrote the initial story have been jailed? Basically Korea is mad at its archenemy, the Sankei Shimbun. If it hadn't been Kato this time, they would have nabbed someone else some other time.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Do the crime, do the time! Let's count the favours that Jaoan has done for Korea, shall we? Ummmm.............

Why is that, every time a Japanese person gets in trouble in either China or Korea it becomes national news in Japan? This joker broke the law in a foreign country. It's no different to that woman on death row in Indonesia for smuggling drugs. Get over it! He is busted and going to jail!

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I don't like the guy's politics, but if you're for freedom of the press, you have to be for letting this guy go. He might be full of it, but it's up to the rest of the media to expose him as a fraud.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Utterly ridiculous situation which highlights the immaturity of the South Korean legal system. Even if it's not a serious newspaper and has an unpalatable message, this is not how to react to it. Let him go, and show us there is still hope for democracy and openness.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@kurispisu and klausdorth

So if Japan had the defamation laws, you guys would be fine with the J-govt pulling the same crap against foreign journalists who report on rumours about him?

So its totally legit for women to be stoned to death cuz the law of the land says so?

Or is it only okay to you two cuz the "perp" is Japanese (more specifically a Japanese man)?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The case doesn't hold water. Charging an individual with a criminal case even if he was the reporter against an article runned by a news agency is completely out of protocol. I could understand if they did it against the news agency itself but an individual?

The prosecutors should re-study how law works.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The South Korea Executive fails a major freedom of speech test today. Let's see if the Judiciary wants to upgrade this to the South Korean State.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Dedicated for you-know-who-you-are friends around here

"It's so dark, I can't see All the truth inside us All I want is to feel something that's real before the end...

Close the door Turn the key Do you like what you see? Kill the lights Oh, come to me Set it off tonight Baby, just like fire to gasoline..."

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I'm quite worried by the idea of jail time for defamation. That would require clear proof that the article had been malicious and was known to be false by the journalist. That doesn't seem to be the case here, rather that the journalist repeated claims that had already been made elsewhere.

Hopefully the court will be prudent and just issue a fine.

That is the way Singapore operates, by the way

Singapore also sues & bankrupts opposition politicians who spread "lies" about its policies, which also disqualifies them from running. I'd rather South Korea remain a democracy and puts up with people critical of the ruling government, than turn into a pseudo-autocracy with the trappings of democracy but severe controls on criticism/opposition.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

cardsfan5: "So, were the sources of the rumors he picked up also arrested? If not, why not? Can't help but feel there is a bit of political retribution going on here."

The sources the man purportedly borrowed from were online blogs, which are not subject to the same laws as official media. What's more, he took what was being rumoured and gave it his own political spin and embellishment to do more damage.

Galapagos: "it would be more intelligent for S. Korea to simply shut down Sankei's bureau and refuse entry to Japanese freelance journalists whose body of work clearly indicates a consistently negative bias in their reporting."

Agree there. Of course, they would cry about being singled out, even when the government made no qualms about it, and would claim they are objective.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

The Sankei Shimbun is opinionated and one-sided, yes. But its attack dog, the Yukan Fuji, is nothing but a vicious propaganda sheet that contains between three to five anti-Korean articles a day. Some of the negative material that Sankei "journalists" file from its Seoul bureau winds up on the pages of the Yukan Fuji. Instead of creating a martyr for the Japanese 4th estate, it would be more intelligent for S. Korea to simply shut down Sankei's bureau and refuse entry to Japanese freelance journalists whose body of work clearly indicates a consistently negative bias in their reporting. That is the way Singapore operates, by the way.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Break the law and do the time.....right?

I think there is a little more to it than that, see below:

The article picked up rumors circulating in the South Korean media that the unmarried Park had disappeared for a tryst with her former aide at the time of the disaster.

So, were the sources of the rumors he picked up also arrested? If not, why not? Can't help but feel there is a bit of political retribution going on here.

Arguing that Kato had “clearly intended” to defame the president, prosecutors on Monday said they would seek an 18-month prison term.

In cases of defamation, doesn't it have to be proven that what was said is, in fact, false?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

"The Sankei has suggested it is being singled out by Korean authorities."

Quick question for the Sankei... why does it think it's being singled out? Because it claims the South Korean sex slaves were lying whores? And even if they are NOT being singled out, are they suggesting that they be 'singled out' as an exception for defamation of character and the man receive no punishment?

If you can't do the time, as they say.

As for relations thawing and Park holding a summit, I think donations by Abe and the lawmakers visiting Yasukuni en masse has put a stop to that well enough. The funny part is that Japan considers itself the victim.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

"Suga said Tokyo had officially voiced its concern over the case several times, “from the viewpoint of freedom of press, freedom of expression and bilateral ties between Japan and South Korea”."

Wish this freedom of press and freedom of expression was always applicable in Japan, too! And "kurisupisu" is (this time) right: if you can't do the time, don't do the crime!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Break the law and do the time.....right?

2 ( +9 / -7 )

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