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Japanese journalist Shiori Ito sues LDP lawmaker Mio Sugita over tweet 'likes'

Shiori Ito is seen in this June 2020 file photo. (Mainichi/Kaho Kitayama)

TOKYO -- Japanese journalist Shiori Ito on Aug. 20 filed a lawsuit against Liberal Democratic Party legislator Mio Sugita, claiming that the lawmaker's repeated "likes" of tweets abusing her character constituted defamation.

    The journalist is demanding 2.2 million yen (roughly $20,751) in damages from the House of Representatives member in the case filed with the Tokyo District Court. As defamation and verbal abuse on social media platforms have emerged as a problem in contemporary Japanese society, the focal point of the case will be whether a person can be held legally accountable for "liking" other people's tweets.

    According to the complaint, Sugita's act of repeatedly "liking" comments that abused Ito constituted "defamation of an intolerable level," considering that Sugita has an influential voice as a national legislator, with 1.1 million Twitter followers at the time.

    Ito also filed for damages with the same district court against Shohei Ohsawa, former specially appointed associated professor at the University of Tokyo, demanding 1.1 million yen (about $10,375) in compensation. In her action against him, she argues that the entrepreneur posted defamatory tweets about her.

    (Japanese original by Aya Shiota and Haruka Udagawa, Integrated Digital News Center)

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