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Friday, February 02, 2018, 15:00 - 16:00


Yasumi Iwakami, Journalist

Kazuyuki Azusawa, Lawyer & Saka Hitone, Lawyer

Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation.

The balance between the freedom of expression, which is protected by the Constitution, and defamation of public figures and semi-public figures has always been a hot topic in journalism, often resulting in court cases. The rise of the social media has made this even more complicated as everybody has a platform to express his/her opinions.

Former Osaka Governor Toru Hashimoto, who is a lawyer by trade, is no stranger to this. This time, Hashimoto, who is known for his bellicose rhetoric, sent a letter of petition to Yasumi Iwakami, president of Independent Web Journal (IWJ), for defamation over a retweet he posted on his Twitter account. The retweet was about the work environment at the Osaka Prefectural Government when he was the governor.

Iwakami is a renowned journalist who won the 18th Kondansha Prize for Non-Fiction in 1996 for his six-year reportage about the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He fears this would have a chilling effect on journalists from the perspective of freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution if journalists are sued by influential public figures like Hashimoto for comments posted on social media, such as Twitter, where one is allowed to write only a limited number of words.

Iwakami says Hashimoto's action is a SLAPP (a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), and a powerful figure like Hashimoto should be making a counterargument on Twitter, where he has more than two million followers, which is ten times more than Iwakami's over 180,000 Twitter followers. Another critical question is should a journalist be sued for what he retweeted? Iwakami says that Hashimoto should be going to the person who originally tweeted what Hashimoto says constitute defamation.

Iwakami along with his lawyer, Kazuyuki Azusawa and Hitone Saka, will come and talk to the club to discuss the recent petition filed by Hashimoto and the prospect of the freedom of expression and defamation.


Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

Professional Activities Committee

Feb 02 18 PC  Yasumi Iwakami Kazuyuki Azusawa  Saka Hitone037Feb 02 18 PC  Yasumi Iwakami Kazuyuki Azusawa  Saka Hitone021Feb 02 18 PC  Yasumi Iwakami Kazuyuki Azusawa  Saka Hitone012


 Yasumi Iwakami        Kazuyuki Azusawa              Saka Hitone              

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