Damages Rejected Again over Torture of Critics in Wartime Japan


Tokyo, Oct. 24 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo High Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court's rejection of damages claims against the government over a case in which journalists and others were tortured by police during World War II.

The claims for a total of 69 million yen were filed by bereaved family members of two torture victims.

In a June 2016 ruling, Tokyo District Court found the torture illegal but ruled that the government was not liable for damages because the torture had been conducted before the implementation of the state redress law.

The so-called Yokohama case is regarded as the largest suppression of free speech in wartime Japan, triggered by a magazine article that was accused of promoting communism. Of a total of about 60 journalists and researchers who were targeted, four died in custody and over 30 were convicted of violating the 1925-1945 peace preservation law.

According to the high court ruling, the two victims--Toru Kimura, then editor of the Chuo Koron magazine, and Toshio Hiradate, who worked for the South Manchuria Railway Co., a then Japanese national policy-linked enterprise in Manchuria, now in northeastern China--were taken into custody by police in Kanagawa Prefecture in May 1943.

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