The Justice Ministry on April 16 admonished publishing company Bungei Shunju for printing what is alleged to be a copy of a Kobe youth’s gruesome account of two slayings he perpetrated, including the May 1997 strangling and beheading of an 11-year-old boy.
Isao Sekijima of the Tokyo Regional Civil Liberties Bureau told a news conference that the bureau took two months to hear from the victims’ families.
The article in question was carried in the March issue of Bungei Shunju magazine and carried alleged copies of what the then-14-year-old suspect told prosecutors during interrogations. An article explaining the magazine’s decision to go ahead with the interrogation expose accompanied the story.
The ministry determined that the article violates provisions of the Juvenile Law that ban publication of information, such as names or photographs, that would reveal the identity of juvenile suspects.
The measure calls for the publisher to take “damage repair measures” such as apologizing to the boy, his family, the families of his victims and the survivors of his other attacks. Although the admonishment is the severest action the bureau can take, it is not legally binding.
The publisher released a comment following the ministry’s move, defending its article as “extremely in the interest of the public.”
“We made our utmost efforts to ensure that details of the boy, including his name, the name of his school, his residence or appearance would not be known to the readers,” the publisher said in a written statement. “We will listen to the admonishment, but are convinced that we have not gone beyond the freedom of the press and publishing we are entitled to.”
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