Adults in the Student Suicide Case

“A Third Party” Pressures to Submit Interview Notes and Recordings (10)

2023.07.28 10:44 Nanami Nakagawa

Reporter Yoichi Ishikawa was interviewed for the second time by Kyodo News on November 24, 2022. At 1:22 p.m. on the 25th, the next day, Ishikawa received an email. It was from Kazuhiro Yamauchi of the Legal Affairs Department, one of the people who took charge of yesterday’s hearing.

Together with the first hearing on November 14, Ishikawa has already responded to more than three hours of hearing. He repeatedly explained that his criticism of the Nagasaki Shimbun was factual. He has no intention of apologizing.

What else is there to talk about?

Lawsuit measures against the Nagasaki Shimbun, a lie

The email from the Legal Affairs Department Yamauchi was as follows:

Thanks for the hearing yesterday.


How are you feeling about providing your notes on the investigation and recordings, which I explained yesterday? Have you changed your mind?

What Yamauchi is referring to are the notes and recordings obtained from the interview about Hayato Fukuura’s bullying suicide incident in Nagasaki. They are looking for proof to back up what Ishikawa wrote in “The Sanctuary of Bullying: A Complete Record of Parents Who Challenged the Darkness of Catholic School (Bungeishunju).”

Kyodo News seems to want to somehow obtain the interview notes and recordings. Yamauchi’s email was the third reminder. The first was an email from Shuhei Masunaga, General Manager of the Legal Affairs Department, on November 17th. Next was the second hearing on November 24th. And the email from Yamauchi on November 25th.

According to Masunaga’s email on the 17th, if a lawsuit is filed by the Nagasaki Shimbun, interview notes and recordings are required to prove the facts.

However, that is not possible.

Kyodo News is a third party with respect to the book “The Sanctuary of Bullying.” His publishing contract is with Bungeishunju. Even if the Nagasaki Shimbun sued, it would be either against Ishikawa or Bungeishunju. There is no way he can hand over the interview notes and recordings to a third party.

Kyodo News itself does realize that it is a third party. During the second hearing with Ishikawa, Kyodo News indeed acknowledged that it is not standing.

Still, it appears that Kyodo News is attempting to identify flaws in Ishikawa’s reporting and force him to accept responsibility for the Nagasaki Shimbun’s protests by demanding him to submit the interview notes and audio.

Ishikawa replied to Yamauchi’s email, which was the third request from Kyodo.

It is ethically unacceptable to provide interview notes and recorded data to third parties for purposes other than reporting.

An examination committee?

On December 6th, Ishikawa’s cell beeped again.

He received an email from Ichiro Masamura, the head of the Chiba bureau to which Ishikawa belongs.

An examination committee was set up in the company today regarding the book. Internal regulations stipulate that the examination committee will investigate the progress of the problem and the facts and review the responsibility and the conditions that should be considered.


According to the regulations, the parties concerned may give a statement in front of the committee or report in writing. What would you like to do, Mr. Ishikawa?


If you are willing to give a statement or report in writing, please include your preferred date and time.


If you do not wish to do so, please let us know.


Furthermore, the company requested that you submit interview notes and recording tapes.  Although you have told me already that you would not submit them, the examination committee has requested that you do so once again. Do you have any intention of submitting it? I ask for your quick response.

Ishikawa was taken aback by the suddenness. Even if he were asked to give an opinion, he wouldn’t know what to say, and he couldn’t make a decision in a hurry. He is also raising his 9-month-old child.

When he couldn’t respond right away, Masamura sent him another email two days later at 12:26 p.m. The subject line reads, “Important notice.”

In regard to the email we wrote on the 6th, if we do not receive a response by 5 p.m. today, we will assume that you do not intend to give an opinion or submit a written report to the examination committee. We will also assume that no interview notes or recording tapes will be submitted. Please inform me by 5 p.m. today if you are considering other measures.

The email was far too one-sided.

Hayato Fukuura (left) and his older brother (right). At the theme park “Harmony Land” in Oita Prefecture (provided by the bereaved family)

To be continued.

(Originally published in Japanese on May 31, 2023. Translation by Mana Shibata.)

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