The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday rejected a suit against
Japanese newspapers for compensation from families of two Japanese
military officers who were reported to kill more than 100 Chinese
each in a contest in 1937.
In the ruling, the court said it is difficult to judge whether
the report was untrue because one of the officers admitted the
existence of the contest after the story had been revealed.
The ruling also said the report cannot be seen as an apparent
fabrication as the contest has yet to be confirmed.
Still, the plaintiffs have lost the right seeking compensation
as the suit is filed after the 20-year limit for claiming damages
has expired, the court ruled.
The Mainichi Shimbun reported in 1937 that, on the way to
attacking Nanjing with their troops, Toshiaki Mukai and Takeshi
Noda were competing for the glory of being the first to have killed
100 Chinese. In the contest, Mukai killed 106 and Noda scored
In addition, the appalling story appeared in a series of
articles on the massacre in Nanjing carried by the Asahi
Shimbun in 1971. In 1981, the leading daily also published a
book, in which the killing spree was mentioned.
They were sentenced to death for the atrocities by a Chinese
court martial in December 1947 and executed the following
The family members filed the lawsuit with the court in April
2003, arguing that the Mainichi Shimbun had "fabricated" the
story and that the Asahi Shimbun continued to publish the
book even though the "mass killing had been proven to be a false
story." They are seeking a combined 36 million yen in compensation
from the two newspapers and the Asahi Shimbun journalist
Katsuichi Honda, who was the author of the report and the book.
"Undoubtedly, the killing contest is a historical fact. The
plaintiffs intend to deny the Nanjing Massacre, and further,
whitewash Japan's aggression of China," Honda said of the case. He
also noted that the right-wingers are behind the
(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2005)