politics

Hashimoto's feud with Asahi resurfaces

17 Comments

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said this week he plans to sue the magazine Shukan Asahi and the Asahi group over an article the magazine ran last October about his family background.

Hashimoto, 43, who also co-heads the Japan Restoration Party, told a news conference in Osaka that he is seeking compensation for damages caused by the magazine article, Sports Nippon reported Thursday.

After Shukan Asahi published the article -- which was supposed to be the first in a series -- Hashimoto threatened legal action. The article referred to Hashimoto’s father as a “burakumin” with yakuza connections. Furthermore, the story made comparisons between Hashimoto and German dictator Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. The magazine said the aim of the article was to give readers a close-up look at Hashimoto who was becoming a significant player in national politics in the lead-up to last December's lower house election.

However, the magazine quickly published a two-page apology, canceled the rest of the articles in the series and its president resigned. That seemed to be the end of the matter and Hashimoto turned his attention to the December election.

But in the April 12 issue of Shukan Asahi, a story said that Hashimoto had peaked as a popular news figure and with Japan Restoration Party co-founder Shintaro Ishihara returning from hospital, he (Hashimoto) was losing his ability to influence national politics.

Hashimoto responded on Twitter -- where he has more than 1 million followers -- that the Asahi group keeps going after him. "They forgot what happened six months ago and how they had to apologize," he tweeted. He said the only way to settle the issue is through legal action.

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17 Comments
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The article referred to Hashimoto’s father as a “burakumin” with yakuza connections. Furthermore, the story made comparisons between Hashimoto and German dictator Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

Truth hurts huh Hashimoto? It's a shame that no one has the balls here to print the facts for fear of getting run over by the good ol' boys network.

But in the April 12 issue of Shukan Asahi, a story said that Hashimoto had peaked as a popular news figure and with Japan Restoration Party co-founder Shintaro Ishihara returning from hospital, he (Hashimoto) was losing his ability to influence national politics.

Again, he is getting his pride stepped on, nothing more, nothing less.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Two page apology ! The man's not even worth a two inch column.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

He's found a new target, but it could come back to bite him. Usually when a popular figure has something to hide they forgo pressing the issue legally because of the pubicity generated. We'll see where he ultimately goes with this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

He's found a new target, but it could come back to bite him.

No actually he is regurgitating an old one.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I love it! The guy IS actually losing his popularity and influence, and so he throws another tantrum and threatens to sue. For a guy that's got all he's got, he sure is a loser.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Well, the first story Hashimoto could have easily sued for defamation, and that's why the magazine issued such a hasty apology.

The second story however doesn't mention anything to imply it was even of a defaming nature, but rather commentary, so not really sure if we're getting all the details in this article?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

dcog: I'm pretty sure anything that doesn't depict him as some kind of god is considered 'defamation' by this man.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

He was holding on to his right to sue the company as a form of blackmail to make them think twice about publishing a negative story in the future.

It's kind of a dick move but he has every right to go after the newspaper for the damages they caused to his family's reputation last October.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The second story however doesn't mention anything to imply it was even of a defaming nature, but rather commentary, so not really sure if we're getting all the details in this article?

He's suing for the first article. The second article caused him to doubt the sincerity of the company's first apology.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The man should let it go. What sort of politician is he if he throws a hissy fit over a magazine article?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The left wing pathologically politically correct Asahi, in it's desperation to attack Hashimoto - who made himself an enemy for his union busting politics that got him elected in Osaka - previously resorted to pulling out racial incitement using his buraku background in order to cast him in a negative light. While the Asahi is a champion of anti-discrimination and equal rights, it was so blindly full of hate for Hashimoto that they actually attacked him as a buraku, breaking one of Japan's few actual anti-discrimination laws that the Asahi was prominent in lobbying for, in order to attempt to slander him.

They did the equivalent of the New York Times attacking Dick Cheney as the son of a "dirty Jew". So YES, of course the apologized on two pages, and yes, of course the Asahi president stepped down.

And yes, when they start up on attacking Hashimoto again, who rose to prominence as a talented attorney, of course he is going to start talking about taking legal action.

Love or hate the man, the Asahi lost its mind in going out to attack him.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

In case anyone doesn't know, the article outed him as a 部落民 buraku-min. Which is silly since they're everywhere, and are even a majority in some places like Kochi Prefecture.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The apology isn't even owed by Asahi specifically to him - the reason for the enormous apology was of course the offensive of the tone of the article toward buraku people, a constituency Asahi traditionally has defended and stood up for. They used a racist and broadcast prohibited term - "burakumin" to describe him, which is again, the equivalent of NYT calling someone the n word. The apology was as much to buraku ("Dowa") people as it was to Hashimoto.

Now whether the new writing is as much of a slander - it seems not. But for a publication that has already openly declared itself a political enemy of Hashimoto, it is understandable that this, combined with the discriminatory language it used against him in the past gives him a heightened sense of outrage at criticism from them that he believes is inappropriate or unjustified.

And if you like Asahi and hate Hashimoto, fine - but then consider how this stupid episode has put the Asahi and its ability to criticize Hashimoto legitimately on the back foot. Just a bone headed move by them, and a sign of why the left in Japan is in such complete overall disarray at the moment.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ah fair enough. Well in that light, it seems fair that he might want to take legal action; the comments leveled at him by the magazine could be deemed as defaming.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Hikozaemon: "it is understandable that this, combined with the discriminatory language it used against him in the past gives him a heightened sense of outrage at criticism from them that he believes is inappropriate or unjustified."

Very good points in your post, and you're right about Asahi kind of back-stepping on it's reputation as a defender of buraku and others, but it's still not slander towards Hashimoto, and that's what the man is threatening to take legal action over. In other words, the stupidity you claim Asahi has embraced in this issue has been embraced as well by Hashimoto -- and I have ABSOLUTELY no doubt in my mind he's not rushing to sue in defense of the buraku, but over thoughts his personal reputation might be sullied by what's been said. Or do you think he's defending people here?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Nothing wrong with being a burakumin! Hashimoto should embrace his buraku origin, not attempt to cover it up. I can understand him trying to cover up his family yakuza links, though.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Hikozaemon

The point you miss is the burakumin and yakuza connection, for which he himself, and not just his father, is well known.

According to most studies on the yakuza, approximately 60% are burakumin.

The main point should have been (if it wasn't) the potential of an organized-crime connected politician rising in popularity.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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