Osaka Court Rejects Suit Against Nobel Laureate Oe, Asahi Says
By Ron Rhodes
March 29 (Bloomberg) -- The Osaka District Court dismissed a lawsuit against Japanese Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe over writing that army officers coerced Okinawan civilians into mass suicides near the end of World War II, the Asahi newspaper said.
The court sided yesterday with Oe, 73, and Iwanami Shoten Publishers in finding the Japanese military was ``deeply involved'' in the mass suicides and that Oe's 1970 book, ``Okinawa Notes,'' had ``reasonable data and grounds'' for the assertion, the newspaper said, citing Presiding Judge Toshimasa Fukami.
The damage lawsuit was filed by Yutaka Umezawa, 91, the former garrison commander on Zamami Island in the Okinawa island chain, and Hidekazu Akamatsu, the 75-year-old brother of another commander on nearby Tokashiki Island. The two men will appeal the court's ruling, the newspaper said.
Oe, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1994, told the Asahi the court interpreted his book accurately in its ruling.
The Battle of Okinawa, the last major battle in the Pacific in World War II, resulted in about 120,000 casualties, most of them civilians, representing about one-quarter of the island's population at the time, the newspaper said.