A Japanese court has dismissed a libel lawsuit against Nobel laureate Kenazburo Oe, whom Japanese WWII veterans accused of defaming them in an essay that describes Japanese soldiers forcing civilians to kill themselves rather than surrender to U.S. troops. The plaintiffs demanded $200,000 and an order blocking reprints of Oe’s 1970 book of collected essays, “Okinawa Notes.”
Right-wing groups have demanded that references to the forced suicides be deleted from Japanese history texts, and a year ago, under then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Ministry of Education ordered school textbooks to eliminate references to them.
After street protests, Abe’s resignation and the election of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, the education ministry ordered most of the deletions restored.
A judge in the Osaka District Court threw out the defamation lawsuit today. The judge found that “the military was deeply involved in the mass suicides,” which occurred only in villages where troops were stationed, The New York Times reported.