High Court Reaffirms Japanese Journalists’ Rights To Protect Sources

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has welcomed the June 13 ruling by the Tokyo High Court reaffirming journalists’ right to protect their sources.

The Tokyo High Court, in the second decision of its kind, ruled that the protection of news sources served the public interest and the public’s right to know.

This decision reaffirmed the March 17 Tokyo High Court ruling that it was not illegal for a journalist to protect their source’s identity, even if that source was a public official, which overturned an earlier Tokyo District Court decision.

“The importance of the protection of sources has been recognised once again by the Tokyo High Court, and the IFJ welcomes this recent decision as further vindication of journalists’ rights to ensure the confidentiality of their sources,” IFJ president Christopher Warren said.

This ruling relates to a series of lawsuits filed by a US firm in which a journalist from Yomiuri Shimbun refused to reveal the source for an October 1997 article which claimed a US company and Japanese affiliate had been ordered to pay tax penalties by Japanese and US tax departments for underreporting.

This recent reaffirmation by the High Court effectively gives journalists in Japan legal support for keeping their sources confidential.

“For journalists to be able to investigate and uncover stories of importance to the public, there must be guarantees in place that those who assist them in their investigations will be protected. The IFJ commends the Tokyo High Court for reaffirming this principle,” the president of the IFJ said.

For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries