It has been two months since the Tokyo High Court ruled in favor of the Violence Against Women in War Network in its lawsuit against NHK regarding coverage of a December 2000 international people’s tribunal, and while the verdict did not receive much press when it was first announced, it continues to be discussed on editorial pages because of the effect it may have on newsgathering activities.

Documentary Japan (DJ), a subsidiary of NHK, approached VAWW-Net in 2000 about the possibility of covering the tribunal, which the organization was sponsoring in Tokyo. The purpose of the tribunal — which included the participation of international legal experts and former sex slaves but was not legally binding — was to discuss Japan’s World War II sex slavery policy and decide, among other matters, whether or not Emperor Hirohito was ultimately responsible for the policy. VAWW-Net did not expect it to attract much coverage from the local press, so it was pleased with the possibility that a documentary about the proceedings would be aired by Japan’s public broadcaster.

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