Damages Claim Case （ha）34687, Heisei 29 (2017)
Plaintiff, TORU HASHIMOTO
Defendant, YASUMI IWAKAMI
From: DEFENSE COUNSEL:
KAZUYUKI AZUSAWA ( Seal)
HITONE SAKA (Seal)
To: OSAKA SUMMARY COURT, CIVIL AFFAIRS DIV. 7
STATEMENT OF PETITION FOR TRANSFER (SUMMARY)
1. Purpose of this petition
Defendant, Yasumi Iwakami, by and through counsel, respectfully requests that the Court issue a decision transferring this case to the Tokyo Summary Court or Tokyo District Court.
2. Reasons for this petition
A. Plaintiff, Toru Hashimoto, filed this lawsuit at the Court in which jurisdiction is the location of his domicile, place of performance of the obligation; however, it is evident, as will be described below, that the act committed by the defendant does not constitute a tort of defamation; that there is no ground for the plaintiff’s claim. Nevertheless, the fact of the plaintiff’s filing of this suit might burden the defendant with the costs of counsel, transportation, and such, thus having a chilling effect on the defendant’s speech activities. This case then is a proper case to which Article 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall apply to “ensure equity between the parties”; the case therefore shall be transferred to another Court under which jurisdiction comes the domicile of the defendant.
I. The defendant’s act does not constitute a tort of defamation
(a) The defendant merely retweeted
The act committed by the defendant which the plaintiff has designated as an act of defamation is a retweet on Twitter, that is, a mere introduction of an expression by a third party; therefore, not an act of defamation. Even assuming arguendo that the contents of the expression in question constituted defamation, it is the original poster of that expression that the plaintiff should have filed a suit against, not against the defendant, who had only retweeted. The plaintiff’s filing a suit against the defendant for mere retweeting is likely to result in time and economic burdens on the defendant, thus putting restraints and having a chilling effect on the defendant’s freedom of opinion.
If the defendant’s retweeting should constitute an act of defamation, SNS (Social Networking Service) societies all around the world might collapse. The defense counsel therefore strongly insists that the plaintiff, who has been engaged in speech activities as someone overwhelmingly able to deliver his messages across, offer counterargument to the defendant’s retweet.
(b) The plaintiff’s social credibility was not lowered.
What the defendant retweeted is an opinion on a social occurrence which had been widely known to the public. Even assuming arguendo that the act of retweeting in general could constitute defamation, the retweet in question cannot be said to have caused the plaintiff’s social credibility to significantly deteriorate; therefore, the act committed by the defendant does not constitute a tort of defamation.
II. The defendant who expressed the opinion in question in the form of a retweet has reasonable excuses.
As mentioned above, the defendant’s retweet in question does not constitute a tort, but even assuming arguendo that the retweet did lower the plaintiff’s social credibility, the original tweet and the subsequent retweet are expressions of the original poster’s opinion which criticized the working environments of government offices during the years in which the plaintiff had been the governor of Osaka Prefecture. The defense counsel intends to insist that the reasons that the opinion in question is based on are facts or that there is probable cause to believe that those are facts, and to substantiate this claim of ours.
B. As described above, the plaintiff’s filing of this lawsuit might have a chilling effect on both the defendant and numerous others who are full of critical spirit wanting to express their opinions. The defendant thus seeks equity among the parties and file this petition in accordance with Article 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure to request that the Court transfer this case to the Tokyo Summary Court or Tokyo District Court.
No documents attached
End of document
The Development in the Case
Heisei 29 (2017)
October 28th – The original poster tweeted about Mr. Toru Hashimoto.
Around October 29th – Mr. Iwakami retweeted and deleted the retweet later.
December 15th – Mr. Hashimoto filed a lawsuit against Mr. Iwakami at the Osaka Summary Court. Case #: Heisei 29 (ha) 34687, Damages Claim, pending in Osaka Summary Court, Civil Affairs Div. 7. The plaintiff’s counsel is Mr. Takashi Matsukuma at the Hashimoto Law Office.
December 26th – The Osaka Summary Court requested that Mr. Iwakami submit opinions regarding the prospect of the case being transferred to the Osaka District Court (Deadline: January 19th, Heisei 30).
Heisei 30 (2018)
January 19th – Mr. Iwakami’s defense counsel submitted to the Osaka Summary Court a statement of petition for transfer to Tokyo.
End of document