A revised version of a best-selling nonfiction book featuring a conservative lobby’s links to a religious group and claims it has influence over the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will now go on sale, its publisher said Wednesday, following a rare court order to suspend its publication due to a defamation claim.
Fusosha Publishing Inc. said on its website it had decided to remove the contentious part from the modified version of the book “Nippon Kaigi no Kenkyu” (“A Study on the Japan Conference”), and sell it as a “measure for the meantime,” in response to the Tokyo District Court’s decision last Friday.
The book claims the lobby has influence over the Abe government. It also criticizes the administration’s drive toward revising the war-renouncing Constitution.
A man in his 70s who appears in the book filed the lawsuit, arguing it damaged his reputation and demanded that Fusosha Publishing suspend sales of the book.
The court said the book, published last year and written in Japanese by Tamotsu Sugano, contained several lines that were untrue.
Sugano said the release date of the hard copy has not been decided. The online version of the book has already been modified, with the contentious description covered with black circles.
Sugano said following the court order he held discussions with the publisher to make the necessary changes, which constituted two lines in the book.
The court said the book cannot be published unless it removes or blacks out the description, saying the man’s social reputation would worsen to a level that would be difficult to restore if the book continued to be sold unchanged.
It is rare for a court to suspend publication of a best-seller in Japan. The book has sold around 153,000 copies since its release last spring.