Adults in the Student Suicide Case

Kyodo News Does Not Disclose Examination Results To A Party Involved (29)

2023.11.16 13:26 Nanami Nakagawa

On January 27, 2023, Kyodo News issued a notice to Yoichi Ishikawa in the name of General Affairs Bureau Chief Takehiko Egashira. It stated that Kyodo News revoked permission to publish Ishikawa’s book “The Sanctuary of Bullying,” published by Bungeishunju, and that reprints would not be permitted.

The right to reprint this book rests with Bungeishunju. It is unreasonable to issue such a notice to Ishikawa.

Ishikawa wanted to know why Kyodo News had come to such a nonsensical conclusion.

But he never got to find it out.

When Kyodo News notified Ishikawa, the examination committee did not disclose the results to Ishikawa, even though the examination committee had reported the results to company executives.

“Notice of revocation of consent for outside activities (external writing)” issued by Kyodo News General Affairs Bureau Takehiko Egashira (dated January 27, 2023)

The permanent board members received the results

A notice issued in the name of Egashira, the head of the General Affairs Bureau, determined that Ishikawa had not “completed his research.”

However, did Kyodo News reach its conclusion after thorough investigation?

Although Ishikawa wrote in his written opinion that he had communicated with a Nagasaki Shimbun reporter, the notice falsely stated that he had not interviewed them at all. The notice makes no mention of the opinion letters provided by Hayato Fukuura’s family or Dai Sasaki, who runs a cram school in Nagasaki. It’s difficult to think that the case was thoroughly investigated.

If they are to revoke their permission for publication and prohibit reprints, they must first point out the problems in Chapter 11, which condemned the Nagasaki Shimbun, and then submit a request to Bungeishunju. However, Kyodo News has not informed Bungeishunju that it does not allow reprints, and has not even inquired about the circumstances leading up to its publication.

Bungeishunju is not the only one they should have reached out. To confirm the facts, did Kyodo News properly hear from relevant parties such as the Nagasaki Shimbun, Kaisei Gakuen High School, and Nagasaki Prefecture? Kyodo News has not communicated with Sasaki or the bereaved family members who provided written opinions.

The General Affairs Bureau wrote the following in an email to Ishikawa informing him that the notification had been sent.

“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.”

Documents containing examination results exist. The documents were not disclosed to Ishikawa, the party that underwent the examination, but were shared with the permanent board members. The permanent board consists of President Toru Mizutani, the Executive Director, and the Managing Director.

Although Ishikawa was on childcare leave, he responded to calls day and night and was interviewed twice. In addition to 21 pages of written opinion, he also submitted three pages of questionnaire and 13 pages of reference.

However, Ishikawa only received two pages of notice issued in the name of Egashira, the head of the General Affairs Bureau. Ishikawa was not satisfied.

“In principle it is made public”

Ishikawa confirmed the “Regulations of the Examination Committee.”

Article 5 of the Examination Committee Regulations stipulates the following regarding examination results.

In principle, the results of the committee’s review will be made public while respecting privacy in order to help prevent recurrence.

If it should be made public in principle, the result should be available to employees. Ishikawa also looked into the internal portal. But he couldn’t find it.

Despite the fact that the results are made public in principle, the results of the examination are not disclosed even to Ishikawa, the party involved.

The notice stated, “Please note that reprinting without permission or publicizing this incident (between Mr. Ishikawa and Kyodo News) in the media violates Employment Regulations and Outside Activities Regulations and may result in disciplinary action.” This intimidation towards Ishikawa may also be due to fear of being discovered that they issued the notice without informing him of the examination results.

Ishikawa felt sorry for Hayato’s family and Sasaki.

Hayato’s mother, Saori, wrote a letter to Kyodo News, despite having a high fever of over 38 degrees, to discourage Kyodo News from pursuing Ishikawa’s responsibility. From New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day, she stayed up all night writing a nine-page opinion letter.

Sasaki wrote a written opinion during the New Year without taking a break. Regarding Chapter 11 of the book, which Kyodo News has taken issue with, Sasaki insists that “Chapter 11, which described the situation at that time as it was, was indispensable.”

“The relationship of trust between Kyodo News and Nagasaki Shimbun was seriously damaged.”

Kyodo News is a news organization, and its job is to pursue cases where public institutions or companies fail to release information that should be made public. If they themselves commit such acts, as they did this time, their trust will be lost and reporters on the scene will have difficulty reporting. The notice found that Ishikawa’s action “damages the company’s reputation and credibility and causes damage to the company,” which applies directly to Kyodo News.

Why did Kyodo News become so out of control?

There was a sentence in the notice that explained this.

The relationship of trust between Kyodo News and Nagasaki Shimbun was seriously damaged due to inappropriate expressions.

To be continued.

(Originally published in Japanese on June 27, 2023. Translation by Mana Shibata.)

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