Kazuyoshi Miura, who was acquitted Wednesday of masterminding the 1981 slaying of his wife, has filed nearly 500 libel suits against newspapers, magazines, broadcasters and wire services since his arrest.
More than half of the cases have already seen initial rulings, and the courts have ruled in Miura’s favor in 60 percent of those cases. Miura has thus far been awarded 50 million yen in damages.
The Tokyo High Court, which acquitted Miura of murder, said in its ruling that many media members tended to report on the case without solid examination on the result of their news gathering, merely supporting investigative authorities. Most of the libel cases focus on whether reports gave readers and viewers the impression that Miura was the culprit in the case. In many libel rulings favoring Miura, judges found a lack of solid news gathering to back the media reports.
But following the Tokyo District Court ruling in March 1994 that sentenced Miura to life in prison, some courts reversed lower court rulings, saying media reports in question were objective and accurate.
Miura’s assaults against being libeled took an interesting turn in May 1997 when the Supreme Court decided that media reports considered to be libelous before any court rulings could not be free from the plaintiff’s right to seek damages.
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