Blogger Makoto Yamaya found guilty of defaming Christian Today in Japan
Japanese blogger Makoto Yama has been found guilty of defaming Christian Today in Japan.
Major Makoto Yamaya of Salvation Army Japan systematically used his personal blog to make unfounded claims against the Japan-based newspaper, alleging that it was linked to a heretical cult organisation connected to the Unification Church.
However, Judge Toda Hisahi ruled that the articles on Yamaya's blog "cannot be regarded as reasonable articles written based on unbiased sources, and there is no reasonable source for the articles".
The judge also ruled that there was "no substantial reason" to believe Yamaya's claim that the newspaper "is brainwashing its employees" and controlled by the Unification Church.
Although Yamaya is a Major in the Salvation Army in Japan, the organisation has said that the claims being made by Yamaya are solely his own personal opinion, and are not related to the organisation in any way whatsoever.
In his blog, Yamaya asserted that Christian Today in Japan believed the founder of educational institution, Olivet University, Dr David Jang, to be the second coming of Christ.
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Judge Toda said Christian Today in Japan had "suffered an unreasonable loss" as a result of the unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations.
"As an organisation that must deliver information concerning Christianity, there is serious likelihood of it losing its credibility," said Judge Toda.
"The articles can be regarded as illegal content that went beyond opinion or comment."
In his ruling, Judge Toda ordered Yamaya to pay 950,000 yen (around £6,000) in damages for defamation and to delete the libellous blog articles.