The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday ruled against former television celebrity Shinsuke Shimada and his agency in a suit filed last year against publisher Kodansha for libel, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Oct. 30).
Agency Yoshimoto Kogyo and the 56-year-old Shimada sought 165 million yen in damages for an article about the former entertainer’s associations with organized crime that appeared in the October 15, 2011 issue of weekly tabloid Shukan Gendai under the headline that read: “Shimada, you are a gangster.”
One claim within the article was that Shimada utilized organized crime members to negotiate real estate transactions.
“The content of the report has high credibility,” said presiding judge Tomonari Honda in offering an explanation for the rejection of the suit by Shimada.
Yoshimoto Kogyo was critical over content in the article that indicated that the agency was accommodating to its performers associating with organized crime members. “We do not support this kind of reporting,” the suit read. “This is an unimaginable fabrication and a very serious case of libel.”
For this part of the suit, judge Honda ruled that a payment of 1.1 million yen was due to Yoshimoto Kogyo.
In August of 2011, Shimada abruptly announced his retirement from the entertainment business, citing an exchange of e-mails with an upper member of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest crime syndicate, as the reason.
The editorial department at Shukan Gendai, which is owned by Kodansha, said in a statement, “Since most of the ruling was in our favor we will recognize it as essentially a victory.”
A representative of Yoshimoto Kogyo said that the agency would appeal the ruling.