Notable developments in five cases winding their way through the Japanese justice system:
- The Supreme Court has upheld a high court ruling that same-sex couples in de facto marriages should be entitled to the same legally protected benefits as apply to heterosexual couples in quasi-marriages. In a judgment last week, the top court finalized the ruling ordering the ex-partner of the plaintiff to pay ¥1.1 million in damages after the couple broke up due to the former’s infidelity.
- A court in Ibaraki Prefecture on Thursday ordered the suspension of the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant amid ongoing safety concerns about nuclear power generation 10 years after the Fukushima No. 1 accident. In a civil suit, plaintiffs demanded that Japan Atomic Power halt operation of the plant, which is currently idled, arguing that safety measures there are insufficient.
- The Tokyo High Court on Tuesday upheld a life sentence handed to a man by a lower court over the 2017 murder of 9-year-old Vietnamese girl. The presiding judge said investigators “illegally confiscated” DNA evidence used to convict Yasumasa Shibuya, 49, without a search warrant and criticized them for being “lazy,” but he said the evidence was still admissible.
- A former Self-Defense Forces member was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month for killing an officer in a police box in the city of Toyama, in central Japan, in 2018 before using the officer’s gun to shoot dead a security guard at a nearby school. The Toyama District Court spared Keita Shimazu, 24, the death penalty, citing a mental disorder and other factors.
- The mother of Hana Kimura, a cast member from popular TV show “Terrace House” who apparently took her own life after being subjected to online abuse, has sued a man for posting distressing comments about Hana after the young woman’s death. The government recently approved a bill to help victims of cyberbullying identify those who made defamatory posts online.