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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 15:12 GMT
Japan's NHK in WWII sex slave row
By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Tokyo

Former Taiwanese sex slave Cheng Chen Tao, 83 (file image)
Women who worked as sex slaves were called 'comfort women'
Japan's state broadcaster NHK has been ordered to pay compensation in a row over a television programme about the country's use of sex slaves in wartime.

Tokyo's High Court decided the broadcaster had altered the contents of the programme, based on a mock trial of Japan's wartime Emperor Hirohito.

The changes were made following interventions by senior politicians, including the current prime minister.

NHK has called the ruling unjust and says it will appeal.

Any criticism of Hirohito is controversial.

But when Japan's state broadcaster made a programme six years ago which found him guilty of crimes against humanity, politicians were incensed.

Legal responsibility

NHK's show was based on a mock trial called the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal.

The event was part of a campaign to urge the government to take legal responsibility for the Japanese Army's use of women as sex slaves during World War II.

At the end of the mock trial, a panel of four international judges found the emperor guilty of a war crime for accepting institutionalised sex slavery.

Before it was broadcast, Shinzo Abe, now the country's prime minister, urged NHK to alter the programme because he thought its contents were biased.

NHK decided to remove the "guilty" verdict on the late emperor, testimonies of former soldiers and the name of the women's group that had organised the event.

The broadcaster denies this was the direct result of the pressure from the politicians.

Cover-up charge

But the group felt betrayed because the programme had been re-edited without consulting them.

They complained this would lead to a further cover-up of the issue of war-time sex slavery and they also felt that such interventions by politicians should be challenged.

Tokyo's High Court has now found in their favour and ordered NHK and other defendants to pay them more than $16,000 (8,182, 12,382 euros) in compensation.

It ruled that the programme had been changed after taking into account the remarks of the politicians.

Mr Abe admits that he complained about the show but has always denied he put the broadcaster under any pressure.




SEE ALSO
Japan WWII sex slave redress call
12 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Japan
15 Dec 04 |  Country profiles
Japan to end WWII sex slave fund
24 Jan 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan rejects sex slave appeal
25 Mar 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan court rejects 'slave' suit
11 Mar 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Japanese cabinet donates to WWII fund
02 Jul 02 |  Asia-Pacific

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