Taku Yamasaki, the Liberal Democratic Party’s No. 2 man, lost a defamation suit Monday when the Tokyo District Court rejected his demands that a magazine pay him damages for writing a report about his alleged mistress.
The court rejected the party secretary general’s demand for 50 million yen in damages against publisher Bungeishunju.
The weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun reported in its April 4, 2002, issue that his alleged mistress was involved in the Unification Church. It criticized his action as “careless” and cast doubts over his fitness as a lawmaker.
“The article can be recognized as one intended for serving the public interest, and there were reasons to believe that the story is true or that the story seems to be true,” said presiding Judge Akio Doi.
He also said the article “can be considered as an opinion or comment.”
A spokesperson in Yamasaki’s office said the ruling was “extremely regrettable” and that they will appeal.
The Unification Church is a movement that began in South Korea in 1954 and is known for its mass weddings.