• Kyodo

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The newspaper run by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun) was slapped with a court order Tuesday to carry an apology and pay 2 million yen in damages for defaming the leader of an affiliated organization.

Presiding Judge Hiroshi Aono of the Osaka District Court fully accepted Hong Gyong Ui’s demands, saying the Choson Sinbo, the newspaper published by the pro-Pyongyang group, defamed him after he called for reform of the group.

Hong, the 47-year-old head of the Kinki regional chapter of the Association of Korean Human Rights in Japan, a Chongryun affiliate, filed the lawsuit in December 2004.

He had put a statement on his Web site in February 2004 urging Chongryun to review its ties with North Korea as times had changed. He said Chongryun was on the verge of collapse. The Choson Sinbo ran an article the following month accusing him of maintaining contacts with South Korea’s intelligence authorities and committing acts of sabotage against Chongryun.

In his ruling, Judge Aono said the Choson Sinbo article was aimed at damaging Hong’s position in the community by giving readers the impression he had been conducting hostile activities against North Korea and Chongryun.

Aono said Choson Sinbo’s claim that Hong had maintained contacts with South Korean agents was not true.

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