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The Tokyo High Court on July 28 overturned a September 2007 Tokyo District Court ruling that said three newspapers libeled a doctor at Tokyo Women’s Medical College Hospital in a news report, and acquitted the news agency that originated the report. The high court ruling correctly understands the role of a news agency and the relationship between it and its client newspapers. The doctor appealed the ruling. It is hoped that the Supreme Court will uphold the latest ruling.

Akita Sakigake Shimpo, Jomo Shimbun (Maebashi) and Shizuoka Shimbun published a July 2002 Kyodo News article on the death of a 12-year-old girl following a heart operation in 2001 at the hospital. The article hinted that the doctor who performed the operation mishandled a heart-lung machine. The doctor was arrested and charged with professional negligence resulting in death, but was later acquitted.

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