Kyodo News “Revokes Publication Approval” and “Prohibits Reprinting” of Bunshun’sBook / Author is Subject To Disciplinary Action If The Details Are Published In The Media (28)
2023.11.10 10:42 Nanami Nakagawa
Kyodo News began pursuing responsibility against Yoichi Ishikawa, who was on childcare leave, on November 11, 2022. This was the day after his book “The Sanctuary of Bullying” was published by Bungeishunju.
Since then, Ishikawa has participated in two hearings and sent a written opinion to the examination committee set up by Kyodo News, appealing for the legitimacy of his book. Saori and Daisuke, parents of Hayato Fukuura, who committed suicide, and Dai Sasaki, who runs a cram school in Nagasaki, also submitted written opinions. The opinions written by Ishikawa, the bereaved family, and Sasaki total 51 pages.
What kind of judgment will Kyodo News make?
On January 27, 2023, Kyodo News notified the results in the name of Takehiko Egashira, Director-General of the Internal Affairs and Communications Bureau.
Only two pages. There was something written in it that even Ishikawa had not expected.
(Left) Toru Mizutani, president of Kyodo News General Incorporated Association, from the Kyodo News newsletter “KYODO NEWS No.892” (2023.4.25) obtained by Tansa; (Right) Takehiko Egashira, Director-General of General Affairs; “KYODO NEWS No.863” (2020.9.25)
Misspelling Ishikawa’s first name in an email
At noon on January 28, 2023, Ishikawa received an email titled “Regarding the sending of notification documents.” The sender is “Kyodo News General Affairs Bureau.”
Mr. Yoichi Ishikawa
Sorry to contact you via email.
Regarding Mr. Ishikawa’s book, the examination committee reported the results in writing to the permanent board members, and based on this, the company decided on a measure, so we sent a notification letter with the name of the Director of General Affairs to your home.
Please check when it arrives. Thank you for your cooperation.
Kyodo News General Affairs Bureau
They misused a character for Ishikawa’s first name Yoichi. (They wrote “洋一,” the correct spelling is “陽一.”)
Kyodo News has so far taken a number of careless responses.
They requested the submission of interview notes and recordings under the false pretext that they were for “trial.” The examination committee was not organized as prescribed. After all, they didn’t respond to the 15 questions Ishikawa sent to the examination committee.
Ishikawa was astounded at how irresponsible they were to make a spelling error of his name in an email notifying a critical result at the end of the process.
Bungeishunjun, “We have not received any contact”
Two notices from Takehiko Egashira of the General Affairs Bureau arrived at Ishikawa’s home. The title read, “Notice of revocation of consent for outside activities (external writing).” The notice began as follows:
We would like to inform you that on January 24, 2023, Kyodo News decided to revoke the approval to the outside activities related to outside writing that you applied for on July 25, 2022 (Rail number FY22 publication number 0036), made on August 2, 2022.
This is due to our decision that the description in “The Sanctuary of Bullying: A Complete Record of Parents Who Challenged the Darkness of Catholic School” (hereinafter referred to as “the book”), which was published with your title as Kyodo News reporter, is applicable to the grounds for disapproval under Article 4 of the Outside Activities Regulations.
They are revoking the permission he received from Kyodo News to write a book for Bungeishunju, but the book has already been published. What does it mean? As he read on, wondering what was going on, he found shocking information.
We have revoked our approval to publish the book, thus the company will not allow any reprints of the book in the future unless you correct the text in question and receive new approval for outside activities.
Bungeishunju published Ishikawa’s book. Ishikawa, the author, has no right to decide whether to reprint or not. Kyodo News is a third party in terms of publication in the first place. It is an act of overstepping one’s authority to revoke approval for publication or to instruct that reprints are not permitted.
Bungeishunju has not received any notice from Kyodo News that reprints are not permitted. When Tansa inquired Bungeishunju whether there had been any contact from Kyodo News, the reply was, “We have not received any contact from Kyodo News.”
“Violated the dignity as an employee”
So how come they are revoking their permission to publish and insist that reprints are not allowed?
Although these statements are conscious criticism of the Nagasaki Shimbun’s reporting and its reporting stance, and are content that would lower its reputation, you have admitted that you have not interviewed the company or its personnel at all.
It is not true that Ishikawa ”has not interviewed at all.” Ishikawa has communicated with a Nagasaki Shimbun reporter. He simply did not ask for the Nagasaki Shimbun’s opinion, a member company, for fear of interference with his reporting and publication. This point is also stated in the written opinion he submitted.
Shuhei Masunaga, the head of the legal affairs department, also said during the hearing about Ishikawa interviewing the Nagasaki Shimbun’s views that “whether or not we can do that, depending on the relationship between us and the Nagasaki Shimbun, is another matter.”
Since he was unable to interview Nagasaki Shimbun’s views on the matter, he has limited his commentary to publicly available facts and facts he saw and heard directly.
However, the story proceeds on the premise that Ishikawa didn’t “complete his research.”
A series of statements that do not cover the entirety of the coverage are not in accordance with the Kyodo’s Guidelines for Journalistic Activities, and among the reasons for disapproval in Article 4 of the Outside Activities Regulations, (2) it damages the company’s reputation and credibility, or causes damage to the company, (7) other acts that violate the Kyodo’s Rules of Employment and related regulations, and falls under Article 12, Item 9 of the Rules of Employment, which “prohibit actions that violate the dignity as employees, damage the company’s reputation and credibility, or cause damage the company, whether inside or outside the workplace.” Thus, based on Article 5 of the Outside Activities Regulations the approval is revoked.
Based on a factual error, they even wrote that Ishikawa had “violated the dignity as an employee.” It is slander.
Moreover, what made Ishikawa feel a sense of crisis was the way they acted as if they didn’t care about Hayato, who committed suicide due to bullying, and his bereaved family.
Kyodo News also wrote:
Please note that reprinting without permission or publicizing this incident (between Mr. Ishikawa and Kyodo) in the media violates Employment Regulations and Outside Activities Regulations and may result in disciplinary action.
Where does Kyodo News’s hardline stance come from? A sentence that answers that question was also included in the notice.
To be continued.
(Originally published in Japanese on June 26, 2023. Translation by Mana Shibata.)Adults in the Student Suicide Case: All articles