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Osaka High Court orders firm to pay damages for distribution of anti-Korean documents

Individuals on the plaintiff's side are seen holding up banners hailing their victory after the ruling by the Osaka High Court, in Kita Ward, Osaka, on Nov. 18, 2021. The banners read "Hate, harassment acknowledged," "Victory," and "Injunction against distribution of illegal documents granted." (Mainichi/Manami Sakakihara)

OSAKA -- The Osaka High Court on Nov. 18 modified a lower court ruling and ordered a real estate company to pay 1.32 million yen (about $11,500) in damages to a Korean resident in Japan over mental anguish caused by the repeated distribution of documents containing ethnically discriminatory expressions at her workplace.

    The Zainichi Korean woman, who is in her 50s, had sought a total of 33 million yen (about $288,000) in compensation from Fuji Corp., based in Kishiwada, Osaka Prefecture, and its 75-year-old chairman. The real estate company is a major firm listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The Osaka District Court's Sakai branch had earlier ordered the business to pay a total of 1.1 million yen (about $9,620) in compensation.

    According to the lower court ruling and other information, the woman has been working as a part-time employee at the company since 2002. From around 2013, the company repeatedly distributed to all employees magazine articles and other materials that insulted people from South Korea and China, calling them "liars" and "wild animals," in addition to statements on their historical perceptions including those relating to so-called "comfort women" who worked in the Japanese military's wartime brothels.

    In July 2020, the Osaka District Court's Sakai branch ruled that the distribution of the documents went beyond what was socially acceptable, and ordered the company to pay compensation. The company appealed the decision. The woman also appealed because the ruling did not recognize that the content of the document discriminated against her personally.

    (Japanese original by Shiho Matsumoto, Osaka City News Department)

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