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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 11 - 17  > Court: City illegally excluded ‘haiku’ on Article 9 from its newsletter
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2017 October 11 - 17 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Court: City illegally excluded ‘haiku’ on Article 9 from its newsletter

October 14, 2017
The Saitama District Court on October 13 issued a ruling recognizing that the Saitama City government illegally refused to publish a “haiku” poem on Article 9 of the Constitution in the city-run community center’s newsletter.

This lawsuit was filed by a member of a local haiku circle which regularly holds meetings at the Mitsuhashi community center in the city. Haiku is a type of traditional Japanese poem. For years, the city had let the club members publish works of their own choice in the newsletter. Claiming that the city had unilaterally refused to publish the plaintiff’s work depicting a pro-Article 9 demonstration, she launched the court battle in 2015. As a reason for the refusal, the city cited a need to maintain political impartiality.

The court in the ruling said that even if the newsletter carries a haiku dealing with issues that the city deems to be controversial, it does not mean that the city sides with or against the haiku’s author.

The court judged that it was illegal for the city to reject the plaintiff’s haiku based on her thoughts and beliefs without giving sufficient consideration. The court ordered the city to pay 50,000 yen to the plaintiff as compensation.

After the ruling, the plaintiff said, “Without speaking out, I can change nothing. That is why I decided to fight in court. It was the right decision to take an action to protect the freedom of expression.”

Past related article:
> City sued for arbitrary refusal to publish ‘haiku’ on Article 9 [June 26, 2015]
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