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Japan's top court apologizes after finding 119 typos in casebook

The Supreme Court is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi/Kazuo Motohashi)

TOKYO -- Japan's Supreme Court announced Oct. 18 that it had found 119 typographical errors in 12 judgements made by the Supreme Court's Grand Bench recorded in the casebook "Supreme Court reports" when compared to the original verdict.

    Though most of them were typos including omissions, some sentences could be read as having the opposite meaning to the original context due to the errors. The mistakes are believed to have been made during the process of transcribing. The Supreme Court apologized, saying, "We are very sorry to the (casebook) users and Japanese citizens."

    The casebook contains important Supreme Court judgements and decisions in criminal and civil trials. The book includes some 8,400 cases, which have been used as citations in court documents and academic papers by researchers.

    According to the Supreme Court, it investigated 14 Grand Bench judgements made from 1948 to 1997 after errors were pointed out by an external source. The older the judgement was, the more errors it contained. In a May 1976 ruling on the Asahikawa achievement test case, where the right to education and the relationship between the government and education were disputed, instead of reading "as long as it was recognized," a typo turned the sentence into meaning, "as long as it wasn't recognized."

    In addition, a total of 248 typographical errors were found in 13 Grand Bench decisions after examining the ones posted on the Supreme Court's official website. Mistakes such as using the wrong kanji character in the Japanese term for prosecutor were prominent. The Supreme Court will proceed with fixing the mistakes, and is considering whether to search for other typos.

    (Japanese original by Jintaro Chikamatsu, Tokyo City News Department)

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