The Yomiuri Shimbun issued an apology on March 15 after its reporter fabricated a story based on what he claimed was a statement from the mayor of the Fukushima Prefecture town of Naraha, where an evacuation order was lifted in September 2015.
The Yomiuri carried an apology in its March 15 morning edition. The reporter wrote a story that Naraha Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto said he would not promote municipal government officials who are not returning to the town, nor would he raise their wages. The Yomiuri said that the 25-year-old male reporter at its bureau in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Iwaki had followed stories by other newspapers to write his own story without confirming the content of what Mayor Matsumoto had actually said.
The reporter also fabricated the Naraha mayor's statement used in the article. The Yomiuri Shimbun Group headquarters said it would take disciplinary measures against the reporter.
According to the Yomiuri, the story in question was carried in its evening edition on March 7 as well as in its morning edition in some regions on March 8. The reporter wrote the story by reference to the Naraha mayor's remarks carried by other newspapers in their March 7 morning edition. In the story, the reporter "quoted" the mayor as saying that he made the remarks in question "out of my feelings that municipal government employees should take the initiative to show their stance to return. I would like to hold talks anew on the future." The reporter wrote the statement without interviewing the mayor.
In a comment carried in the March 15 morning edition, the Yomiuri said, "Our head office recognizes that it constitutes a grave violation of the ethics of journalism and apologizes to people concerned and our readers." The daily deleted what the reporter initially claimed as the mayor's statement.
The reporter was quoted as saying, "As the deadline was approaching, I wrote it in an easy manner without interviewing the mayor."