Candidate in Tokyo gubernatorial election sues weekly magazine for libel


Shuntaro Torigoe, an opposition block candidate in the July 31 Tokyo gubernatorial election, filed a criminal complaint Thursday with Tokyo prosecutors against a Japanese weekly magazine for libel.

Lawyers for Torigoe, 76, filed the complaint against the editor of the Shukan Bunshun, alleging libel and violation of the Public Offices Election Law after the weekly reported in its latest edition that the journalist and former TV anchorman made an inappropriate approach to a woman.

The editorial department of Shukan Bunshun released a statement saying, “We have full confidence in our article.” The article says Torigoe lured the woman, who was a university student, to his villa in 2002 and made unwanted sexual advances to her.

Torigoe, the joint candidate of opposition parties including the Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party, is running in the election against such other candidates as former defense minister Yuriko Koike and former internal affairs minister Hiroya Masuda, who is supported by the ruling bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.

Speaking at his election campaign office, Torigoe dismissed the allegation by the weekly as “groundless” and said he is “mortified by the heartless defamation” hurled against him.

“I am full of anger. I can only imagine that there is a political force at work here,” he said.

In a statement issued to the media, Torigoe’s representatives said their client will focus on his election campaign and does not plan to hold any news conference to explain the matter.


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