Uniqlo takes Bungeishunju to court for libel

Kyodo

Fast Retailing Co. and its operating unit, Uniqlo Co., have sued Bungeishunju Ltd., demanding ¥220 million in damages for defamation in connection with stories published about the Uniqlo casual clothing chain.

According to the lawsuit filed with the Tokyo District Court on Friday, Bungeishunju published a critical account of the Uniqlo chain by freelance journalist Masuo Yokota in the May 6 and 13, 2010, editions of its Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine and published his book, “The Glory and Disgrace of the Uniqlo Empire,” in March.

Fast Retailing and Uniqlo said the magazine article and book created the impression that the Uniqlo chain has forced employees at its stores and Chinese plants to work for long hours on low pay.

The publisher said in a statement that the article and book were written based on “in-depth research,” while the plaintiffs said the article and book were based on an “extremely scanty” investigation.

In addition to damages, the lawsuit demands that the court order Bungeishunju to stop publishing the book, withdraw already published copies and notify the public of its denial of the contents of the article and book.