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OSAKA — Kodansha Co. told the Osaka District Court on Wednesday that a story published in one of its monthly periodicals identifying the 19-year-old suspect in a murder case did not violate any laws.

The name and photograph of the suspect, who is still considered a minor under criminal law, appeared in the March edition of Shincho 45.

The boy is being held in connection with the fatal stabbing in January of a kindergarten girl and the wounding of two others, including the girl’s mother, during a morning knife spree.

The boy filed a lawsuit against the major publishing house, demanding 22 million yen in damages and claiming his rights under the Juvenile Law were violated for the mere purpose of boosting magazine sales. The law bans the reporting of such facts as a juvenile suspect’s name and age, which can lead to identification.

But Kodansha told the court that the magazine story constituted investigative reporting that addresses the public’s right to be informed. The publisher also said the Juvenile Law itself is unconstitutional because it violates the freedom of the press, and thus investigating such incidents becomes taboo and a suicidal move for journalism.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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