|發表於: 二月 星期四 01, 2007 7:07 pm 文章主題: Court orders NHK to pay women's group damages over sex slave
|Court orders NHK to pay women's group damages over sex slave program
Monday, January 29, 2007 at 16:20 EST
TOKYO — The Tokyo High Court on Monday ordered Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) and other defendants to pay 2 million yen in compensation to a women's rights group over a 2001 television program on Japan's wartime sex slavery.
The court acknowledged that the national broadcaster known as NHK altered the contents of the program, which was based on a mock tribunal organized by the group on the issue of so-called comfort women, after taking into account the remarks of politicians.
The suit was filed by the group, which claimed NHK and two production companies altered the TV program aired in 2001 after intervention by politicians including then Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe who is now prime minister.
The 20 million yen damages suit was lodged by Violence Against Women in War-Network Japan (VAWW-NET Japan), based in Tokyo , which organized the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal in December 2000. The group said its members felt betrayed because the defendants in the suit reedited the program without explanation to the group.
The group helped the defendants produce the program, in which the late Emperor Hirohito was found guilty by the mock tribunal of crimes against humanity for accepting institutionalized sex slavery. The sex slaves, mostly taken from Korea , were referred to as "comfort women" by the Japanese authorities.
Abe has admitted urging NHK to alter the program as he felt the contents were "biased," but he denied having pressured the broadcaster, and NHK has also said it made the changes in the course of regular editing operations and made them on its own.
The reedited program omitted certain elements, including the mock tribunal's "guilty" verdict on the late emperor, who is posthumously known as Emperor Showa, testimonies by former soldiers, and the name of the event organizer.
The group also said during the appeals court hearings that the reediting of the program would lead to further coverup of the issue of wartime sex slavery and tolerance of political interventions.
The mock tribunal was intended to urge the Japanese government to take legal responsibility and compensate women forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military before and during World War II, according to the group.
The "ruling" was handed down by a panel of four judges led by Gabrielle McDonald, the former president of the International War Crimes Tribunal on the Former Yugoslavia.
In March 2004, the Tokyo District Court ordered one of the production companies to pay 1 million yen to the group over the case, leading the company and the advocacy group to file appeals. The district court dismissed the group's demands for redress from NHK and the other production company.
Abe and Shoichi Nakagawa, another senior lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, were reported to have pressured NHK to refrain from broadcasting the content that was later removed.
NHK is chiefly funded by viewers' subscription fees. Its budget and business plan require parliamentary approval. The government also provides funds to NHK's international shortwave radio service and is authorized by law to issue orders on what to air on its international shortwave radio programs.
Under Abe's administration, the government made an unprecedented order to NHK in November to put emphasis in its international shortwave radio service on the issue of North Korean agents abducting Japanese nationals in the past.
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