The Sankei Shimbun has punished a writer and disciplined two supervisors for running an article on its news website in January containing phrases that were almost identical to those that previously appeared on a private blog.

The Sankei said: "There will be no excuse if the accusation is plagiarism."

The Jan. 27 sports story about Carolina Kostner, a female Italian figure skater, purported to cite a sports news website in Italy. However, it was later found that part of the article was based on the Japanese translation of Italian articles by a Japanese blogger.

The Sankei said the blogger had complained earlier this month.

The newspaper has deleted the article and slapped the sports writer with a pay cut, it said. It has also reprimanded two of his supervisors.