Kyodo News has fired a staff photographer for doctoring photos from seven pro and amateur baseball games between 2007 and this July.
In addition to the photographer, who was canned Friday, Kyodo took other disciplinary action, including temporary suspensions from work and pay cuts for 12 senior officials.
Kyodo President Masaki Fukuyama, Kyodo Executive Director Shigeyuki Yoshida and Kyodo News Department Managing Editor Fumikazu Yoshida are among those reprimanded.
The Osaka-based photographer, 28, failed to snap shots of five pro players as they hit home runs but submitted photos of their other at-bats in the same games with false captions that were then sent over the wire, Kyodo admitted.
The other two photos were from amateur baseball games in 2007, and were sent to a limited number of newspaper companies at their request.
It wasn’t until Sept. 17 that Kyodo announced the discovery of three of the doctored photos. It found four more with false captions through an in-house investigation of 3,421 shots related to the photographer since he joined Kyodo in April 2007.
The doctored photos of pro games purportedly depicted home runs by Shuichi Murata of the then-Yokohama BayStars on Sept. 30, 2010, and Takeya Nakamura of the Seibu Lions on June 30, 2011.
The photographer was quoted as saying during an in-house probe that he thought Kyodo’s photo editors would fail to notice his skullduggery even if he submitted pictures of different at-bats, as turned out to be the case.
“We sincerely apologize for the act which betrayed (the) trust of (our) news organizations’ readers,” Yoshida, Kyodo’s managing editor, said in a statement.
“We will take measures to prevent a recurrence, including a review of staff training,” he assured.