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The president of Themis magazine on Tuesday appealed a Tokyo District Court ruling that the source for a 2002 article on tax evasion by the Japanese subsidiary of a U.S. health food company must be revealed if it was a tax official.

The subsidiary has already filed its own appeal with the Tokyo High Court of the lower court ruling made May 22.

“If the news source was a National Tax Agency official, there is a possibility that the official leaked information in violation of the law. In that case, the right to withhold a news source does not deserve protection under the law,” Judge Ken Fujishita said in his ruling.

Kinoshita did say there were exceptions, including blowing the whistle on a public institution’s wrongdoing to reveal responsibility or to stop the actions.

In 1997, the mass media here reported that Japanese and U.S. tax authorities had found the Japanese subsidiary had hidden about 7.7 billion yen in taxable income.

The firm filed a suit against the U.S. government, claiming its reputation had been damaged and its share price fell after the reports were made.

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