Adults in the Student Suicide Case

The Examination Committee In A Hurry (12)

2023.08.02 16:14 Nanami Nakagawa

Kyodo News regarded Yoichi Ishikawa’s book “The Sanctuary of Bullying” as an issue and launched an examination committee in response on December 6, 2022.

However, the members of the examination committee, consisting of executives from Kyodo News, did not reveal their names or positions to Ishikawa. According to the regulations, General Affairs Bureau Director Takehiko Egashira serves as chairman, and members include Chiba Bureau Chief Ichiro Masamura and Legal and Intellectual Property Office Chief Masao Ishigame.

The “Anonymous Examination Committee” goes on the offensive against Ishikawa.

Kyodo News’ headquarters, Shiodome Media Tower (Photo by Tansa)

Who requested a protest against Kyodo News?

In the email sent to Ishikawa by Masamura, the head of the Chiba Bureau, on December 6, there were two requests from the examination committee.

One is about the intention to express an opinion to the examination committee.

“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.”

The other is about the provision of interview notes and recordings on the investigation about Hayato Fukuura’s bullying suicide incident in Nagasaki.

“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?”

Ishikawa was perplexed as to how to handle the examination committee’s requests.

He gave his opinion at hearings, which lasted for more than three hours on November 14 and 24. But no matter how many times he said the same thing, the company wouldn’t accept it. It is similar to an interrogation where the police force a confession and invite false accusations. Under these circumstances, he’s afraid that the examination will not take his words into legitimate consideration. Isn’t it just to create the alibi that “We heard your opinion”?

He has repeatedly refused to provide notes and recordings obtained during the investigation. The publisher of the book is Bungeishunju. Kyodo is just a third party. Above all, the use of interview notes and recordings for non-reporting purposes is ethically impermissible.

The members of the examination committee are experienced journalists. They should be well aware of how absurd their request to Ishikawa is.

Nonetheless, there is only one possible reason for making such a request. It is to put the blame on Ishikawa and calm the anger of the Nagasaki Shimbun, a member company.

There is evidence to support this Kyodo News speculation. Regardless of Ishikawa’s claims, Kyodo News had already apologized to the Nagasaki Shimbun. Prior to the second hearing on November 24, Kyodo News Fukuoka branch manager Makoto Taniguchi went to the Nagasaki Shimbun to apologize.

According to a reporter from Kyodo News, whom Ishikawa acquired information from, Yoshiki Yamada, the editor-in-chief of the Nagasaki Shimbun, was the one who fiercely protested. Although President Hidehiko Tokunaga isn’t that angry, some forces in the editorial office apparently insist.

Through our investigation, Tansa had found out that Koichi Doshita is the center of “some forces. He is the reporter who wrote the article protecting Nagasaki Prefecture in the case of Hayato Fukuura’s suicide.

Tansa has sent a letter of inquiry to Doshita’s email asking for his opinion on the claim made within the Nagasaki Shimbun to protest against Kyodo News. However, as of June 2, 2023, there is no response.

Kyodo News urges an employee on childcare leave

When Ishikawa was thinking about how to respond to the request from the examination committee, another email came from Masamura, the head of the Chiba Bureau office.

At 12:26 p.m. on December 8, the title 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.”

Masumura writes that if Ishikawa does not respond by 5:00 p.m. on December 8, “We will assume that you do not intend to give an opinion or submit a written report to the examination committee.” Ishikawa received this email at 12:26 p.m. on the 8. Not only is the response deadline already short, but also Ishikawa is on childcare leave. It is impossible for him to respond in four and a half hours while caring for a 9-month-old child at home.

Ishikawa emailed Masamura at 4:19 p.m. on December 8, objecting, “I can’t accept being decided unilaterally.” Furthermore, he requested that the examination committee first disclose information such as the exchanges between the Nagasaki Shimbun and Kyodo News. So he could decide how to respond to the examining committee.

Ishikawa thought that the examination committee also needed time to consider, and set the response deadline to be noon on December 15, one week later.

Nevertheless, the examination committee responded to Ishikawa four hours later.

At 8:23 p.m. on December 8, the examination committee dismissed the exchange between Nagasaki Shimbun and Kyodo News, saying, “We cannot comment on the discussion process of the examination committee.” Once again, Ishikawa was asked to express his opinion to the judging committee and to submit the interview notes and recordings.

The deadline for responses is 5:00 p.m. on December 9. There were only less than 24 hours left.

To be continued.

(Originally published in Japanese on June 2, 2023. Translation by Mana Shibata.)

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