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Tokyo High Court overturns man’s ‘right to be forgotten’

Kyodo

The Tokyo High Court on Tuesday rescinded a lower court judgment that recognized the “right to be forgotten” in a case filed by a man who demanded Google Inc. eliminate five-year-old articles on his crime record from its search results.

The court rejected the man’s petition, with presiding Judge Norihiko Sugihara saying the right to be forgotten is not a privilege stated in law and its prerequisites or effects are not determined.

Google has appealed the Saitama District Court’s provisional order issued in June last year for the internet giant to remove from Google Search lookup results news reports about his arrest for involvement in child prostitution and pornography. The man has been fined for the crime.

The district court judgment marked the first time a Japanese court had issued a decision referring to the right to be forgotten in ordering the removal of personal information from the internet.

The man claimed his personal rights were infringed upon as news reports appear whenever his name and address are entered into the Google search engine.

The district court said the right to be forgotten should be recognized with the passage of time.

The appeals court said Tuesday, however, that child prostitution is a matter of grave concern particularly for parents and that the public need of the case being kept known has not been lost even five years after the incident.